Vehicles torched in mine jobs protest
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Burgersfort, Limpopo - At least ten vehicles were set alight by residents of Burgersfort in Limpopo amid angry protests over lack of job opportunities in the local mining sector.
Four trucks, four buses and two cars were set alight on Tuesday night by residents living near the platinum mines who are demanding jobs and development in the area.
Residents, who claimed mining companies had failed to deliver on earlier promises to employ locals, also burnt tyres and barricaded roads with debris.
The vehicles that were set alight had been driving along the R555 road between De Hoop dam and Burgersfort, when drivers were pulled off from their vehicles and ordered to run. Several could only stand by and watch from a short distance away as their cars went up in flames.
On Wednesday, the majority of mine workers, many of whom reside far from their places of work, did not report for duty as there were no buses travelling on the route due to protests.
Community spokesman Sikhalo Motubatse said residents had taken to the streets because local government and the department of minerals had failed to facilitate a proper hearing of their demands.
“We are not retreating, and this time enough damage will be caused. Yesterday four trucks were set alight, buses were set alight near De Hoop dam as well as two cars. These mine managers are playing with us and we are not in that game,” said Motubatse.
He said they had been requesting a meeting to have their issues resolved since January but had been ignored by mining companies.
Public order police had been deployed to monitor and maintain peace in the area.
Police spokesperson Colonel Malesela Ledwaba said motorists should be cautious when using the R555 road, saying that the situation had calmed down but warning that people should be observant when using the route.
A number of local residents had joined the protests even though they were not demanding jobs in the local mines, but arguing that their area had undergone little to no development despite mining companies accumulating huge wealth.
Protestors vowed to continue with their protests until the Department of Mineral Resources made sure that mining companies fulfilled their social labour and social development policy obligations as enlisted on the mining license conditions.