Mthethwa speaks to Marikana residents

2014-05-15 13:01
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa (Picture: Sapa)

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa (Picture: Sapa)

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Rustenburg - Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa arrived in Mmaditlokwe, near Marikana in North West at 11:30 on Thursday to address disgruntled residents.

About 1 000 people had gathered at a field ahead of his arrival.

Mthethwa was accompanied by Rustenburg municipality mayor Mpho Khonou and Tharisa Chrome mine officials. 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".

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

Residents claimed that blasting at the chrome mine damaged their homes and affected their children's health. They said rocks fell into their yards and left the area covered in dust.

Residents on Wednesday told Mthethwa 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.

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.

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Read more on:    police  |  nathi mthethwa  |  mahikeng  |  strikes  |  mining unrest
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