Teargas fired at Goldfields protesters

2012-09-12 11:28

Teargas was fired at protesters at Goldfields’ KDC West mine, near Carletonville.

Thousands of workers ran to a stream, where they washed their eyes, while security guards wearing gasmasks sat in vehicles.

Mfanayedwa Themba said protesters had wanted to stop a train, “because the train is a part of the mine. It is a part of us”.

It was when they went onto the railway tracks that guards started firing teargas at them, he said.

Massive veld fires started after the gas was fired, and large clouds of smoke floated over the roads.

Earlier, National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) leaders spoke at the stadium.

Some of those gathered wore T-shirts with “Hands off NUM. Hands off Cosatu” printed on the back.

Yesterday, expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema called for the resignation of the NUM’s leadership, including general secretary Frans Baleni.

NUM dismissed this, calling it “hogwash”.

Today, some of the group wore balaclavas and carried sharpened sticks and planks.

NUM regional secretary Mbuyiseli Hibana said they were going to address members soon. “We want them to go back to work.”

He was telling them that their wage issue was something they needed to address with their employer, when the firing of the teargas was heard.

Armed guards from Goldfields, both on foot and in armoured vehicles, were stationed around the mine.

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