Mine protesters bar media

2012-08-14 14:28
Police officers wait on standby at the Marikana mine in the North West. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Police officers wait on standby at the Marikana mine in the North West. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - A group of about 500 men gathered on top of a mountain in Wonderkop, near Lonmin's troubled Marikana mine outside Rustenburg, at midday on Tuesday.

The group, described as violent, denied the media access to the mountain.

"We don't want photographers; actually, we don't want journalists here," they told a freelance photographer.

The men were carrying knobkerries and iron rods.

Local residents said an inyanga (herbalist) or sangoma (traditional healer); would perform a ritual on the mountain top and sprinkle the men with muti [traditional medicine] to make them brave.

A large contingent of police had been deployed in the area, and was stationed about two kilometres from the mountain.

A police helicopter also circled above, keeping an eye on the crowd.

ENews also reported that a military truck drove into the complex Tuesday morning.

The situation in the Wonderkop appeared quiet as locals continued with their daily routines of shopping and fetching water.

Things remained unpredictable in Marikana, a group of women said.

"Look, it is well during the day, but at night we don't know what can happen," said one of them, Annah Lekutu.

She believed the violence would abate when the perpetrators were arrested.

Earlier, Captain Dennis Adriao said police had been working to track down the killers of nine people - two police officers, two security guards, three protesters and two other men.

The violence is believed to be linked to rivalry between the National Union of Mineworkers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.

Lonmin has called for an end to the violence, which started on Friday following an illegal work stoppage and protest march by about 3 000 Lonmin rock drill operators.
Read more on:    lonmin  |  mahikeng  |  labour  |  mining  |  protests  |  mining unrest

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