Gwede Mantashe condemns criminal incidents at RBM
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DURBAN - MINERALS and Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe has warned that the safety and security issues affecting Richards Bay were a threat not only to the province, but to the country.
Mantashe spoke on Thursday during a meeting with Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) management, following the murder of Nico Swart, a senior manager at the company.
“Richards Bay Minerals is a very important company, not only for KwaZulu-Natal but in the context of mining nationally. Criminal activity is not a mining activity – once you commit a crime, you then create a crime scene and the police must take over,” Mantashe said.
He condemned the criminal incidents which he said were negatively affecting mining operations in the Richards Bay town.
Mantashe was part of a high-level delegation that visited Richards Bay.
Premier Sihle Zikalala chaired the meeting, which was held in uMhlathuze Municipality.
MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Neliswa Peggy Nkonyeni, Economic Development MEC Ravi Pillay, Rio Tinto managing director Stephane Leblanc and uMhlathuze mayor Mduduzi Mhlongo, were at the meeting.
“RBM is an important stakeholder in KZN with regards to investments and its continued existence is dependent on what we do to preserve Richards Bay as a prime investment area,” Mantashe said.
He urged the people of Richards Bay to protect RBM as their asset.
He commended the KZN government for their ongoing efforts to create peace and stability in the area.
Mantashe said they were informed that law enforcement agencies had prioritised the criminal and murder cases and investigations were at an advanced stage.
Mantashe said police informed the delegation that they were working closer with RBM to get to the root cause of the criminal elements in the area.
Zikalala assured all stakeholders that government teams would remain in the area to facilitate stability and attend to all stakeholder concerns.
He added that this would include working closer with RBM in facilitating expansion prospects.
Leblanc thanked the government for the continued support and interventions to address the complex issues affecting the company’s operations.
“For us the safety and security of our employees is paramount. We have been working hard to reduce the risk to our employees to ensure that they work safely. We would like to closely work with you (government) to find a way to ensure that those that are behind these murders are brought to book,” said Leblanc.