Chrome mine protest turns violent

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Maditloka - Sixteen people were arrested after allegedly pelting police with stones during a protest in Mmaditloka, near Marikana, on Tuesday, North West police said.

“(The protest) was about the chrome mines, people said (the mines) caused damage to their property,” Brigadier Thulane Ngubane said.

The protest did not appear to be related to the on-going platinum strike.

Those arrested would appear in the Rustenburg Magistrate's Court.

Ngubane said he could not immediately give further details.

There have been tensions in the area recently as the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union objected to employers approaching miners with their wage offer directly in a bid to end the four-month strike in the platinum sector.

Amcu members at Lonmin, Impala Platinum, and Anglo American Platinum operations in Rustenburg, North West, and at Northam in Limpopo downed tools demanding a basic monthly salary of R12 500.

Earlier, Ngubane appealed to political parties to stop fuelling tensions in the area.

“This country is not a banana republic. It's a state with laws and those laws must be respected. We are going to have a zero tolerance approach to anyone who breaks the law.

“Economic Freedom Fighters leader (Julius Malema) said miners should intensify their strike. People should be cautious of the statements they make,” Ngubane said.

EFF spokesman Mboyiseni Ndlozi said the party would not apologise for the statements.

“We don't apologise for the statements we made while addressing the miners. We encourage the miners and the unions not to sell out. We are the only party that is encouraging the employees and employers to do what is right,” said Ndlozi.

On Monday National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) regional secretary Sydwell Dolokwana blamed Amcu members and Lonmin for the death of three miners. Two were killed at the weekend and another on Monday.

“We blame Amcu for the deaths because (they) intimidated our members who wanted to go to work on Monday,” Dolokwana said.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa told SABC news his union could not take the blame for violence in the platinum belt.

Implats, Lonmin, and Amplats have called on Amcu to exercise responsible leadership and to protect the rights of those who wanted to work and defended their decision to communicate with striking workers directly.

Sapa


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