Workers at Anglo American Platinum in Rustenburg have been “re-directed” from the mine due to intimidation, the company said on Wednesday.
“To ensure the safety and security of our employees, management took the decision to re-direct employees to a neutral place,” said Amplats spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole in a statement.
“We confirm that yesterday (Tuesday), some of our employees were unable to clock in for night shift due to fear of intimidation and threats by unidentified individuals in and around our Rustenburg operations.”
She said “widespread cases” had been reported of intimidation against Amplats workers throughout the Rustenburg area.
National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesman Lesiba Seshoka confirmed that the union's members had reported intimidation since Sunday.
“There is apparently a high-level of intimidation,” Seshoka said. “There is a group that is coercing people to gather and have a strike.”
Seshoka said this group had initially been rebuffed and has since been threatening workers with violence if they did not go on strike on Wednesday, including throwing petrol on them.
“They tell you that next time you do this thing we're going to burn you. It's no longer going to be an issue of putting petrol on you and leaving you. You're going to get burned,” Seshoka said.
He also claimed that the labour unrest at Amplats was connected to recent troubles at Impala Platinum and Lonmin in Marikana.
“The people who are responsible for organising this threatening (of) workers are the same people who are doing it at Marikana and Impala. A couple of people come and they start talking to workers. If you don't listen you are dealt with,” Seshoka said.
Sithole did not say how many workers had been sent to a neutral place or how severely operations at the Rustenburg mine had been affected.
Further comment from Amplats was not immediately available. - Sapa