| JOHANNESBURG, April 27
JOHANNESBURG, April 27 Violence erupted on South
Africa's platinum belt on Sunday when members of the striking
AMCU union attacked sports minister Fikile Mbalula as he
campaigned in the area for the ruling ANC in May 7 elections,
union officials and local media said.
SABC radio, the public broadcaster, said the minister had to
be whisked away in a bulletproof car when AMCU members set upon
him and ANC activists, pelting them with rocks, as they went
door to door in Freedom Park, a shantytown northwest of
Sydwell Dokolwana, the regional secretary for the National
Union of Mineworkers, a key ANC ally and AMCU's arch rival, told
Reuters he was with the minister at the time and that several
people were hurt and buildings were torched.
"There was a group of about 100 guys with AMCU shirts. We
had to run for our lives," he told Reuters.
Police could not be immediately reached for comment.
Tensions are high in the platinum towns as the AMCU
continues a crippling three-month strike against the world's top
producers of the precious metal, Anglo American Platinum
, Impala Platinum and Lonmin.
The AMCU/NUM rivalry adds to fuel to an already combustible
social and political mix in the area.
AMCU emerged as the top union in the platinum shafts after
poaching tens of thousands of NUM members in a vicious turf war
the killed dozens of people and triggered a wave of violent
wildcat strikes that year.
(Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Andrew Roche)