WESTONARIA - Julius Malema looks set to continue rallying support among mineworkers, sparking concerns that protests could spread to more mines following unrest at an East Rand mine the former ANC Youth League leader visited last week.
At least four people were wounded with rubber bullets during an illegal protest at Gold One's Modder East mine on Monday. According to police, one person sustained serious injuries and four others were treated for minor bruises after security guards reacted to charging protesters
Mine officials condemned the strike.
The mineworkers started protesting after being dismissed in June for their involvement in a previous illegal strike.
A court interdict preventing further strikes after the demonstration in June did not stop strikers from vandalising the entrance to Gold One with slogans calling for workers to be reinstated and paid higher wages.
Gold One International CEO Neal Froneman said the mine’s private security was forced to open fire on the strikers.
He said protesters attempted to stop a taxi with Gold One employees on board and had “malicious intent” towards them.
“They attempted to stop a taxi with malicious intent towards employees in the taxi.”
Foneman said operations at their mine were not affected by the mass action.
He said at least 90 percent of the mine’s employees reported for duty.
MALEMA'S TOUR OF MINES
As the miners Malema addressed four days earlier were protesting at Gold One the expelled ANCYL leader was speaking on the opposite end of Gauteng, at a Gold Fields mine on the West Rand.
Malema reacted to criticism of his role in several ongoing strikes in South Africa's mining sector.
Senior ANC leaders have accused Malema of capitalising on the deaths of 34 striking miners in Marikana to drive his own political agenda.
Addressing striking workers at Gold Fields Mine on the West Rand, the former ANCYL leader vowed never to abandon aggrieved miners.
“They can say whatever they want to say about us. We have been with the workers. We’re not starting today; we’re not starting in Marikana.
“We have been amongst the poor of the poorest.”
(Edited by Thato Motaung)