Sondela residents in stand-off with police

2012-09-20 14:45
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Lonmin miners report for duty

Striking miners have returned to work at the Lonmin Platinum mine after a five-week strike was resolved. See the pictures.

Rustenburg - Residents of Sondela, near Rustenburg, blockaded the road leading to the Jabula shaft of the Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mine on Thursday.

They put burning tyres, rocks and other objects on the road to prevent the police from gaining access into the informal settlement.

They said the police had fired rubber bullets and teargas at the striking mine workers, and that the community had also been affected by the shooting.

Resident Mary Matladi said the police fired rubber bullets and teargas at people who were not part of a gathering near the sports field.

"When they [mineworkers] ran to into their shacks, police followed them and fired randomly into our shacks," she said.

Kids writing exams

She said residents then barricaded the road. Hawkers' stalls were also burnt down.

"We are not on strike. Why should the police shoot at us?"

Residents also went to the Bana Pele Primary School, and asked school management to let pupils go home, but they were told the children were writing exams.

Pupils were later seen walking through the smoke from the burning tyres.

Miner Nelson Moyikwa said workers would not return to work until their demands had been met.

"We are striking for money, we want the money from the mine and not the police. They should leave us alone in our quest to fight [for] what is right for us," he said.

Worker leader Tebogo Lebeke said the miners had been on strike since last Tuesday, in demand of a monthly salary of R17 000.

Finding a solution

"We have met management before, and negotiations were expected to continue next week on Tuesday, but we received an SMS from the mines, telling workers to return to work."

The text message sent to workers stated that conditions were conducive for them to return to work.

Lebeke said: "We are not going back to work until our demands have been met."

North West Premier Thandi Modise was expected to meet Angloplats management in an attempt to found a solution to end the strike.

Her spokesperson Lesiba Moses Kgwele said the meeting would be held in Phokeng, outside Rustenburg, on Thursday at 14:00.
- SAPA

Read more on:    amplats  |  police  |  thandi modise  |  mahikeng  |  protests  |  mining unrest  |  labour  |  mining
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