Another of our leaders gunned down – AMCU

Joseph Mathunjwa says Mvelisi Biyela shot in front of his family on Friday night


23 September 2017

SUMMARY: The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is experiencing wide-range attacks on its leadership in the platinum belt, with several killings having taking place over the last weeks. Mvelisi Biyela, our health and safety office bearer was gunned down and killed at 20.30 at Wonderkop at the Lonmin mine village

Last night, 22 September 2017 another one of our leaders was gunned down. This time it was Mvelisi Biyela, our Health and Safety office bearer at Lonmin. He was killed outside his house in front of his wife and 6 year old daughter. His killing has left us chilled, shaken but steadfast in our determination to defeat this outrage. Those that think their cowardice can defeat this mighty union built on the spirit of many that have paid the ultimate price, spilt their blood, left us with just their bones must think again. We will not be intimidated. We will not be cowered.

Yesterday’s killing tells us that a war has been declared against AMCU and if it is war, then let it be known we can fight. We don’t have, nor do we believe in killing machines to wage war. We will not fight with bullets, guns and anonymous hitmen but with mass action. We will fight with a much greater weapon: the unity of AMCU, the unity of mineworkers the unity of the working class.

It is quite outrageous that the killing of our members continues, now on a daily basis with no response from the state, the mining industry or the media. Once again we are reminded of the Apartheid’s state third force campaign against the democratic forces of this country. We wonder whether a new campaign is being unleashed by the state and its allies against our militant and independent union. We wonder if this is a continuation of the dirty tricks campaign led by President Zuma and the NIA when the sponsored the building of an opposition union, WAU aimed at defeating AMCU?

We are not going to fold our arms as our members are killed, their wives left as widows and their children grow-up in single parent families without a farther. AMCU values the lives of its members, of all platinum workers and of all mineworkers. For AMCU an injury to one is an injury to all. For us, this is not just a slogan. It is a way of life. It is the foundations of what this union has been built on.

Our members will not be slaughtered like flies. We will fight back and we will fight hard. We do not want crocodile tears from the government, management and the media about action that jeopardizes jobs. What about inaction that jeopardizes lives?

Over the last months more than five leaders have been killed. No arrests have taken place. AMCU conducted a private investigation and the assailants with evidence was handed to the police. At the point of making arrest the police were restrained by higher authority.

On Tuesday 26 AMCU will hold a press conference where we will announce a campaign of rolling mass action to defeat the campaign to kill our union and its leadership. Details of the press conference will be announced shortly.

Statement issued by AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa, 23 September 2017