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SAfrica: Fired miners vow to fight to the death

Associated Press Modified: October 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm •  Published: October 6, 2012

A union representative in Marikana inquiry was shot and killed Friday night at his house, the National Union of Mineworkers, or NUM, said Saturday. The victim could have been targeted because he was "a key witness" in the inquiry, according to NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka. He said the victim assisted the commission this week when it visited the hill where the miners were killed.

There seems to be no end in sight to the labor unrest, which has spread to coal and iron ore mines as well as to the road freight sector. Some 20,000 truckers demanding a 22 percent pay raise are currently staging a strike that threatens the supply of gas and groceries. Negotiations between striking truckers and the Road Freight Association broke down Thursday.

The labor unrest has damaged South Africa's reputation as an investment destination. South Africa produces 75 percent of the world's platinum and is the No. 4 chrome producer and the fifth-biggest gold producer. South African President Jacob Zuma, the target of criticism by mineworkers who see him as aloof to their concerns, said Thursday that the violence witnessed in the mining sector was proof that "a climate of constructive social dialogue" needs to be created in the country.

"We should not seek to portray ourselves as a nation that is perpetually fighting," Zuma told South Africa's Chamber of Commerce and Industry.