Violence erupted in Mpumalanga after a group of job-seekers could not reach an agreement with the management of mining company, Universal Coal Mine in Belfast.
Police in Mpumalanga said a follow-up meeting, which was scheduled for Monday, did not materialise and tempers flared.
“The incident dates back to October 2, when the concerned job-seekers marched to Universal Coal Mine in Belfast to hand over their concerns about unavailability of job opportunities for locals in the mine,” said provincial police spokesperson, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala.
“After the march, both parties — the job-seekers and mine management — reached an agreement for a follow-up meeting which was scheduled for Monday, October 9.”
On Monday, it is alleged that the mine management could not allow everybody onto its premises, but suggested that only the group's representatives would be permitted inside.
It was hoped that the group’s representatives would eventually relay the meeting's outcomes to the entire group.
“The group could not agree to that and resorted to violence. Police contained the situation and the group was escorted back to Siyathuthuka.
“The concerned job-seekers regrouped in the evening from about 7pm to 11pm. During their gathering, two vehicles belonging to two different companies contracted to the mine were torched in different areas of the township,” said Mohlala.
Additionally, the irate group advanced to one of the mine employee's residence, who is believed to be in the management, and his vehicle was torched.
On Tuesday, police said the group regrouped and blockaded roads with burning tyres.
“Police tried their best to contain the situation, as a result two male suspects, aged 26 and 29, were arrested for public violence,” said Mohlala.
“The total value of the damaged properties will be known as investigation continues. The duo is expected to appear before Belfast Magistrate's Court soon.”
Mohlala said the situation was “under control”, with police constantly monitoring the area.