Arrests spark North West protest

2012-05-22 18:08

Pretoria - Some Impala Platinum (Implats) mineworkers continued protesting in Rustenburg on Tuesday over the arrest of two colleagues, North West police said on Tuesday.

Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said the protests began on Monday night, following the arrests of Kahayaletho Mzimeli, 25, and Sibongile Sidadla, 40, on Monday afternoon.

Both are members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and were arrested for allegedly wounding Laurence Samolekae during violent clashes with National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) members on Thursday.

The dispute was apparently about the AMCU having recruited more members since the Implats strike.

Ngubane said AMCU members started barricading streets on Monday night.

On Tuesday, about 15 000 workers marched to the Tlhabane Magistrate's Court where their colleagues were appearing.

The march was stopped by police as it was illegal.

Ngubane said Mzimeli and Sidadla would remain in custody until their next appearance on Friday, when they were expected to bring a formal bail application.

He said the protesting workers had split into two groups, with some at Jabula Mine and others at Lefaragatla Village.

Police were keeping watch.

Earlier on Tuesday, Implats spokesperson Alice Lourens said workers at the mine downed tools on Monday night after hearing of the arrests.