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Rubber bullets fired to disperse miners

Oct 04 2012 19:10 Sapa

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Johannesburg- Police fired rubber bullets and teargas to disperse a group of Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mineworkers in Nkaneng, near Rustenburg, on Thursday.

The group had gathered at the top of a hill, and had barricaded roads linking Rustenburg and Marikana with rocks and burning tyres.

When onlookers from a nearby informal settlement started stoning the police vans and insulting police. They had to call for reinforcements.

A number of police nyalas were at the informal settlement and police were positioned at its entrance.

"We know you are here to shoot... It will never happen," the onlookers shouted.

Workers at Amplats have been on a wildcat strike since 12 September, demanding a R16 000 monthly salary and allowances.

Since then, shops and cars have been burnt. On Monday, six cars driving past the mine's shafts were burnt and two shops were looted and burnt.

One of the shops belonged to a Pakistani man, and was situated next to the mine's Jabula hostel, in Sondela.

"We are going to sleep in Thekwane. It is not safe here. You do not know what could happen during the night," said a man who was leaving the area with his wife.

"If they know we have left, I might be killed or my shack torched," said the man, who identified himself only as Peter.

Mineworker Jack Mxegilen said he was prepared to die for R16,000 they were demanding.

"I work hard and get paid little. We want that money," he said.

Despite threats of dismissal, workers remain defiant, sticking to their demand.

Their leaders spent the day in a meeting near the Rustenburg Civic Centre. They wanted to be granted a permit to hold a mass meeting.

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amplats  |  mining unrest  |  police  |  rubber bullets


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