It’s back to school in Ogies

2010-02-19 10:43

SCHOOLING is set to resume in Ogies today after violent protests

hit the Phola township this week, the Mpumalanga police said.

Captain Leonard Hlathi said 68 people were arrested and 21 injured

in protests against mining giant BHP Billiton that started in the early hours of

yesterday.

“It is slowly getting better now. We had a quiet night,” Hlathi

said this morning. “We have increased our police contingent and they are

monitoring the situation.”

Hlathi said residents of Phola township were expected to be able to

go to work today after all the main streets were barricaded yesterday.

“Schooling will also be normal again today,” he said, adding that

no shops were looted and no buildings damaged during the protests.

Those injured include three police officials who were hit by stones

and bottles and 18 protesters who were shot at with rubber bullets.

Hlathi said the residents were protesting against BHP Billiton,

claiming that the miner should give them more jobs.

BHP Billiton owns the Klipspruit coal mine in Ogies.

The mine’s spokesperson, Johnny Dladla, said 94% of the people

employed by the BHP Billiton’s Klipspruit colliery were from the Nkangala

district in Mpumalanga.

“Of these, eight percent are from the local Ogies or Phola

township,” he said.

Dladla said his company remained open and committed to continue

discussions with community leaders through the local Community Development

Forum.

Last week, schooling was disrupted and the library set alight in

the Mpumalanga town of Balfour in protests against the local Burnstone gold

mine, which residents accused of not investing enough in infrastructure

development.


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