Johannesburg - Striking mineworkers have been hiding in a veld outside Anglo-American Platinum's Northam mine at night and possibly plotting criminal activities, Limpopo police said on Wednesday.
“People are hiding and ducking in a bushy area or veld outside Northam mine in the evenings. I don't know what they are planning, maybe to burn things or what,” police spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi told Sapa.
“The have been doing that from last week, every night they do that.”
Mulaudzi said it was a small group of mineworkers, and it was unclear whether they were from the North West or Limpopo.
“It is striking mineworkers in the bushy area and they have muthi people (traditional healers) with them,” he explained.
“They are probably using muthi to help them be invisible (in the strike) or something.”
He said police were trying hard to remove those hiding in the veld.
“We are pushing them away, they must get out of that area. I think we do disturb them because police are patrolling there all the time.
“We evaluated the threat, we brought in members to patrol that area. We have a responsibility you know, that's what we are doing to make sure nothing happens in that area. We are trying to prevent criminal activities.”
In terms of the strike, he said some miners were picketing on Wednesday but it was peaceful.
No incidents had been reported so far. He believed this was due to continuous police visibility in the area.
Police had received unconfirmed reports that certain people were being threatened and targeted.
“But we could not confirm it.”
Since last week Sunday, 14 people had been arrested for intimidation and public violence outside Northam mine, said Mulaudzi.
“They went to the Northam Magistrate's Court and are still in custody. They are going back to court on May 16.”
Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) at Lonmin, Impala Platinum, and Amplats in Rustenburg and at Northam in Limpopo downed tools on January 23 demanding a basic monthly salary of R12,500.
The strike has cost the companies over R17.8 billion in revenue and workers have lost more than R7.9bn in earnings, according to figures on www.platinumwagenegotiations.co.za. - Sapa