60 arrested for blocking N2 in chaotic mine protest

2015-02-10 00:00

NEARLY 60 people were arrested for blocking off the N2, just south of Mtunzini, while protesting against not getting jobs at a nearby mine yesterday.

During the protest, which brought the highway to a standstill for more than two hours, one person thought to be a protester was killed by a passing vehicle.

Sources said the crowd was only dispersed when police fired rubber bullets at the group, which is believed to have come from the nearby Obonjeni area.

Mainly youths, they swarmed the road near Fairbreeze Mine owned by Tronox — a producer of titanium ore and titanium dioxide. The company is currently preparing infrastructure in the area for a mine.

According to Mtunzini SAPS spokesperson Captain Mbongeni Mdlalose, the group stopped a timber truck and set alight nearby timber ­ plantations shortly after 6 am.

“They offloaded the poles and placed them across the road. Police had to disperse the crowd and then with the assistance of private security and other emergency services cleared the road of the poles,” said Mdlalose.

He said the driver who killed the ­pedestrian later turned himself into the Mtunzini police station.

Tronox KZN Sands spokesperson Natalie Keegan said an arrangement to source staff at the mine had been made with four local traditional leaders.

• jonathan.erasmus@witness.co.za

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