13 held after Implats protest

2012-03-01 16:02
Johannesburg - Thirteen people were arrested on Thursday after protesting youths blockaded roads in Luka, near Rustenburg, North West police said.

"We arrested 13 people for public violence and also confiscated two cars carrying tyres," Captain Tselane Nkala said.

The protest erupted 8km from Impala Platinum (Implats) mine a day after workers returned to work.

Luka village residents demanded on Thursday to be employed in unfilled positions at the mine.

They blockaded roads into the village and burnt tyres. Police used rubber bullets to disperse a crowd of around 500 people. Schools were also disrupted and people were prevented from going to work.

Community leader Solly Huma said they would continue to protest and were angry because Implats was transporting people from other provinces, instead of locals, to work at the mine.

"We are local people and now Impala is re-hiring expelled workers and they also ferry people from other provinces to work here. If they think their problems have ended, let them wait and see what we will do.

"We are going to protest until we are hired."

Implats' head of personnel Johan Theron said in a statement that preference would be given to returning employees, who would receive their old benefits, in the filling of open positions.

"If we receive more than 15 000 applications, we will keep a recall list and as soon as opportunities become available, those on the list will be prioritised."

Earlier on Thursday, protesters started a fire on the railway line and damaged traffic lights, Nkala said.

He said the 13 people arrested would appear in the Bofokeng Magistrate's Court on Friday.
Nkala said the situation was tense and was being monitored by the police.

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