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Workers of Normandien Sawmill at Mayflower in Mpumalanga are calling on police to properly investigate a case of murder after one of their colleagues was allegedly shot and killed by security guards during a strike.
It is alleged that some of the security guards used live ammunition while others used rubber bullets to shoot at the workers who were gathered outside the sawmill.
Residents of Mayflower and employees of the Normandien Sawmill are shocked by the death of an employee. His colleagues claim that the security guards shot at them unprovoked. They say they have been on strike for several months because of alleged mistreatment they suffered from the employer. They claim that among things that triggered their protest action is that, one of the managers allegedly assaulted some employees.
The organiser of the Chemical, Energy, Paper Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union, Sipho Dlamini says three other workers were injured following the alleged shooting.
“The security guards of the company came out of the company premises in the street. It is almost close to 100m where they were from the gate of the company. Then they started shooting. While they were shooting, it is believed that the deceased was shot with live ammunition, not a rubber bullet,” says Dlamini.
Manager of the Normandien Sawmill at Empuluzi in Mayflower, Anthony Wilson, says the deceased and others who were gathered outside the premises of the company are no longer their employees.
“The workers or they claim to be workers had been dismissed since the 26th of January already. What happened was that the employees who were not dismissed on the 26th of January- were trying to come to work, where these protesters assaulted these workers and threw stones at them. The security left the premises to protect these employees. The protesters then turned their aggression towards the security company and the security company defended themselves against the attack.”
Wilson refused to confirm or deny the allegation that the security guards used live ammunition.
“I cannot confirm that. They participated in the illegal strike from the 4th of January until the 26th of January when they were dismissed. I know that the police had been investigating. What the further details are, I do to know.”
This is not the first time the Normandien Sawmill security guards are accused of shooting workers using live ammunition.
In 2017, workers of the same sawmill in Piet Retief were shot and injured by the guards and one of the workers had his leg amputated due to injuries he sustained. Apparently, no arrests were made following that incident.
Meanwhile, attempts to get comment from the police regarding the two incidents were unsuccessful.