Angry residents bring mine to a standstill

The blocked roads at Marula Platinum Mine.

DRIEKOP – Marula Platinum Mine has not been operating since Wednesday, September 21. The mine is expected to resume production on Monday,September 26.Madikane community members barricaded all roads leading to the mine.The residents demanded services from the mine. They alleged the mine has been neglecting their village when hiring and providing services.On Tuesday, the mine management sent an SMS to its employees, which stated: “Given the current situation with the Madikane community, management and the union have agreed to send all employees on three days’ accumulative leave, starting Wednesday, to give management chance to resolve the issues with the community. Should the situation not be resolved by Sunday, management and the union will meet on Monday morning to decide on the way forward. During the shutdown period, some employees may be required by their HOWs to present themselves for care and maintenance. Employees will be updated on any new developments”.Mecklenburg SAPS spokesman,Const Kgalake Mampuru, confirmed that the mine was shut down.”The residents were violent and they also allegedly damaged pipes at Marula Mine’s Driekop shaft on Monday. The roads leading to the mine were blocked with rubble and stones,” he said.

According to sources, Madikana residents are demanding that a school, crèche and a sports ground be erected in their village.”We are tired of seeing cars passing near our houses while we are suffering and lacking basic services,” they said. Several motorists complained that the protesting residents had pelted their cars with stones.Mr Johan Theron, Implats’ group executive: corporate relations said, “The unlawful and sometime violent demonstration has resulted in mine property being damaged and employee’s vehicles being stoned. The SAPS is overseeing the situation, but has not been able to contain the situation to such a degree that we can reasonably guarantee the safety of our employees,” he said.Theron added that, after due consideration with all stakeholders, including the workers and union representatives, they had resolved to close the mine until next week to consult with the demonstrating community members in order to seek a sustainable resolution.”At this stage, it is difficult to comment with certainty why the community is demonstrating and preventing the mine from operating,” he concluded.

Gilbert Motseo

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