Amplats strike turns violent

Police used teargas and water cannons on more than 2,000 striking workers from Amplats.

Striking Anglo miners. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

RUSTENBURG - North West police on Thursday battled to control a crowd of more than 2,000 Anglo Platinum (Amplats) miners who are protesting at the Inkaneng informal settlement in Rustenburg.

Miners pelted officers and vehicles with stones, and burning tyres could be seen on the streets around the settlement.

Police were forced to use teargas and water cannons in a bid to restore stability to the area.

Officers at the scene have now called for reinforcements.

The settlement was littered with rocks as police monitored the situation from a safe distance.

The crowds marched through the roads singing struggle songs.

They blocked roads by dismantling barricades and showed no signs of slowing down.

On Thursday, Amplats workers blamed management for the recent violence at the mine.

Nearly 80 percent of Amplats' workforce embarked on an illegal strike in September.

Workers are demanding a basic wage of R16,000 per month.

Speaking to Eyewitness News , Inkaneng protesters said they were willing to die for for their cause.

Earlier, the workers' strike committee met with the mine management and police in Rustenburg, to formulate a plan to end the violence.

The committee said it returned to a meeting with the Public Safety Department and police, after walking out due to confusion about who is to blame for the violence.

The committee's Siphamandla Makhanya said workers started the intimidation after receiving text messages that they had been suspended.

"They are sending SMSs telling workers they do not have jobs. When the workers realised that they did not have jobs, they started to vandalise [property]. We asked management to stop sending the messages."

The strikers have still not been granted permission to gather again at the Bleskop Stadium for a mass meeting on Friday.