Johannesburg, South Africa — 04 September 2012 – South African police fired teargas and rubber bullets to disperse striking miners at a gold mine near here in the latest outbreak in a wave of labour militancy spreading from platinum mining into other parts of the mining sector.
Reuters reports that the unrest occurred less than three weeks after police shot dead 34 striking miners at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine, the bloodiest security incident since the end of white-minority rule in 1994.
The Marikana shooting shocked South Africa and marred the image of the continent’s biggest economy, as the full extent of a breakdown in labour relations in the mines became apparent.
South Africa is home to 80% of known platinum reserves, and the price of the precious metal, used in jewellery and car catalytic converters, has risen more than 10% since the violence erupted.
In yesterday’s incident, mine owner Gold One International Ltd said about 60 workers at its Modder East site went on a wildcat strike, blocking half its employees from reporting for their shifts.
“The group, however, refused to disperse. The South African Police Service had to use teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the group,” it said in a statement.
Police spokeswoman Pinky Tsinyane said four people had been injured in the incident, which she described as a “shoot-out” between protesting ex-miners, miners and security guards.
“Police are investigating a case of attempted murder,” she said, adding that four arrests had been made. We understand that the ex-miners were assaulting the miners who were coming to work this morning.”
In a separate dispute “’ but one born of similar social conditions “’ an illegal strike involving a quarter of the 46,000-strong workforce at the KCD East gold mine, owned by world No. 4 bullion producer Gold Fields, entered its third working day.
Source: Reuters Africa. For more information, click here.