Marikana residents gather for Mthethwa

2014-05-15 11:11
(File photo, Lucky Nxumalo, City Press)

(File photo, Lucky Nxumalo, City Press)

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Rustenburg - Residents of Mmaditlokwe, near Marikana in North West, began gathering in a field on Thursday ahead of a visit by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

It was peaceful in the area and no police officers were visible ahead of Mthethwa's expected 10:00 visit.
About 100 residents had arrived so far, and media were setting up their equipment.

Mmaditlokwe is roughly 3km from Marikana. On Wednesday, Mmaditlokwe residents burned tyres and blockaded roads demanding the release of 16 people arrested for public violence.

Fourteen women and two men were arrested on Tuesday after police used rubber bullets to disperse an "unruly crowd".

Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said residents refused to listen to police. He said the protest did not appear to be linked to the ongoing platinum mining strike, but was related to complaints against a nearby chrome mine.

Residents claimed that blasting at the chrome mine damaged their homes and affected their children's health.

Basic salary of R12 500

Residents on Wednesday told Mthethwa, who was in the area, that they would only be satisfied if those arrested were released, and their concerns attended to.

Mthethwa said he would return on Thursday to resolve concerns. He told locals that those who were arrested were no longer the responsibility of police, but the courts.

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) at Lonmin, Impala Platinum, and Anglo American Platinum in Rustenburg and at Northam in Limpopo downed tools on 23 January, demanding a basic monthly salary of R12 500.

The strike has cost the companies over R17.9bn in revenue and workers have reportedly lost more than R7.9bn in earnings, according to the website Platinumwagenegotiations.co.za.

The platinum producers recently resolved to approach strikers directly about their latest pay offer, in a bid to end the strike.

Amcu objected, raising fears of friction between striking mineworkers and those who wished to return to work.

Three miners and one of their wives were killed in separate incidents in Rustenburg since Sunday, prompting police to deploy reinforcements in the area.
- SAPA
Read more on:    amplats  |  implats  |  lonmin  |  amcu  |  nathi mthethwa  |  mahikeng  |  strikes  |  mining unrest
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