RBPlat reports that a group of more than 100 protestors – including former employees and unknown persons – attempted to gain unlawful access to the shaft premises. The premises were locked and secured by mine security personnel. As a last resort, and to prevent damage to property and injury to mine personnel, mine security sought to disperse the crowd, using rubber bullets and paint-balls.
During the course of the incident an individual within the crowd was shot and killed by live ammunition. Based on preliminary evidence, including video footage, it is believed that the shooting was from within the group of protestors. The deceased was not employed by RBPlat.
The company advised the SAPS of the protest as it developed, and has formally reported events and the shooting of the protestor outside its premises. An investigation into the incident has begun, and a post mortem of the deceased will be undertaken. The matter is now a subject of criminal investigation by the SAPS. The company will provide all the necessary and possible cooperation in this investigation.
Damage reportedDuring the incident, the protestors set fire to a conveyor belt of which approximately 200 m was burnt. A boom gate as well as a guard house were also damaged. There was no other damage to mine property, or injury to mine employees.
The protest by community members stems from the dismissal of 14 employees by the company in December 2017, following unprotected industrial action (including threatening other employees and damage to property) that ensued when services to a number of homes in the nearby Waterkloof Estate were erroneously suspended by the local municipality.
These issues have been dealt with repeatedly by the company with community members since December 2017 in a number of forums, and the company assisted in resolving the delivery of services, even though this was not within its remit.
Operations at BRPM are unaffected, although the mine will remain vigilant. RBPlat management has called on local community members to refrain from engaging in violence, threatening behaviour and damage to property. The company notes widespread protest action currently underway in the Rustenburg area unrelated to mining issues, and calls for calm by all parties.
RBPlat extends its condolences to the family of the deceased, and is in contact with his family to offer its support.