Foreigners displaced by mine strike

2012-02-20 07:24

Rustenburg - Nearly 100 foreign business owners have been displaced after their shops were looted and vandalised during a strike at the Impala mine in Phokeng, North West police said on Sunday.

"Approximately 32 shops were looted, belonging mostly to foreign nationals in close proximity to Freemanville, close to Impala mine," said police spokesperson Brigadier Thulani Ngubane.

"The owners are now staying with friends and relatives in Ziniaville, Rustenburg," he said.

Numerous cases have been opened with charges ranging from malicious damage to property to theft.

"Close to 130 suspects have been arrested on numerous counts including illegal gathering and they have spent the weekend in Phokeng holding cells," he said. Those under arrest were expected to appear in the Phokeng Magistrate's Court on Monday.

On high alert

Ngubane said not all business owners who had been affected had opened cases.

He said the situation at the Impala mine and Freedom Park was calm on Sunday afternoon but police would remain on high alert.

Local businesses belonging to foreigners in Freedom Park were looted on Thursday and Friday, said Ngubane.

He denied that the attacks were xenophobic, and said the violence had been targeted at businesses, rather than the foreigners who have a monopoly on shops in the area.

On Saturday, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) urged strikers to return to work.

"The NUM is committed to a peaceful resolution at [Impala Platinum] Implats and appeals to all its members and workers in general to return to the operations next week when their issues are being addressed," spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said.

The protests began in Phokeng on Thursday, with mineworkers apparently intimidating and assaulting people trying to get to and from work in the township outside Rustenburg.

They barricaded roads heading towards Freedom Park and threw stones at cars and looted shops. The crowd also torched a satellite police station in Freedom Park.


Seshoka said the union met with Implats management on Friday night in an attempt to resolve the impasse in Rustenburg.

Implats has already agreed to re-employ 17 200 workers who were dismissed for striking illegally.

The NUM and Implats have yet to discuss the disparities in the bonuses given to miners, excluding the rockdrill operators, and issues of reinstatement.

The union said that if Implats failed to meet its commitments when all workers returned to work, it would call a general strike at the company's operations.

The NUM appealed to its members to disregard advice from anti-revolutionary forces in and around Rustenburg, Seshoka said.

"The NUM strongly condemns the violent behaviour demonstrated by criminal elements taking advantage of the volatile situation and appeals for calm as well as to the law enforcement agencies to make decisive intervention whenever violence raises its ugly head," he said.

- Are you there and have you been affected? Send us your stories and photos.

  • Derk - 2012-02-20 07:52

    another day in paradise

  • spartanx93 - 2012-02-20 08:08

    The African way....... DESTROY DESTROY DESTROY!

      Patrick - 2012-02-20 08:25

      destroy in the name of strike. it is a trend they have seen successful strike after causing havoc.

  • Michael - 2012-02-20 08:22

    Oh no, another crime committed because of Apartheid! But our ANCircus leadrs leave the borders open to the millions who come here to live a life of luxury - all because of apartheid!

      pelmane.mulongo - 2012-02-20 15:11

      What the foreigners have they to do with this strike or the destruction that came with it, or again with disagrements at implats? They are some people around here who are really close-minded, trying always to find who to blame for every problem they see. What foreigners have to do with apartheid? Just stop your racist mind, man...

  • Ian - 2012-02-20 08:43

    It is the African way - detroy everything when things are not going your way. Explains why foreigners have their own businesses and locals don't.

  • Cristina - 2012-02-20 10:13

    Once again.....never ending chaos! why??, really why!!??

  • Bertie - 2012-02-20 14:47

    my cousin owns a shoe company he imports all his shoes from factories in China. i asked him why not open a factory here and cut costs of imports... then he said because of strikes he will never open a factory here. well my dear african brothers you only shooting yourself in the foot for stupid acts like this!

  • - 2012-03-03 11:28

    We are trying to solve the problem, Join our effort!

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