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Mmaditlokwe protesters released

Rustenburg - Sixteen people arrested for public violence in Mmaditlokwe, near Marikana, North West, were released on Thursday, a community leader said.

“They were released on warning today. We have sent cars to bring them home,” Msokoli George said.

File picture by Wesley Fester. Credit: Independent Newspapers

Jubilant residents danced at the entrance of the township waiting for the arrival of the group, as police looked on from a distance.

Earlier, residents vowed to continue protesting until the group was released.

Fourteen women and two men were arrested on Tuesday night after residents blockaded Marikana roads with burning objects and burnt down their ward councillor's house.

They were protesting against blasting at the Tharisa chrome mine. They claim it damaged their houses and endangered their lives.

“There was a heavy blast that sent rocks high in the air and left the area engulfed in a cloud of dust,” said George.

He said the blast occurred on Monday and on Tuesday residents took to the streets demanding the mine stop blasting.

At a meeting earlier in the day, residents told Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa that they wanted the mine to stop blasting until they have been relocated.

They wanted the mine to employ local people and provide them with basic services such as water and electricity.

Mthethwa was in Mmaditlokwe to facilitate dialogue between the mine and residents. He told them a task team had been established to look into issues people had raised. It was expected that the task team would report back monthly about progress made.

Tharisa CEO Leon Richardson told residents the mine would limit blasting and inform them prior to blasting.

“We cannot mine if we cannot blast,” he said.

Sapa

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