Minister to visit volatile Steelpoort

Ngoako Ramatlhodi will visit the Steelpoort mining town of Sekhukune following days of violent protests.

FILE: Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramathlodi. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi is expected to visit the Steelpoort mining town of Sekhukune in Limpopo following days of violent protests in the area.

The protest was sparked by millions of rands which the community claims it was promised when companies were granted mining rights eight years ago.

Two months ago residents blocked the main road with stones and burning tyres, barring motorists from using the busy road that links the town to Polokwane.

Ramatlhodi has called for calm in the area and condemned the use violence and intimidation during these protests.

His spokesperson Phuti Mabelebele said, "The minister will meet with the community, the government that side and the mines to establish what the issues are."

South Africa's mining industry has been rocked over the past three years by periodic outbreaks of violence and labour unrest about pay and conditions.

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), which owns 50 percent of the Mototolo mine in the area, said on Monday that its production had not been disrupted.

The company and mining industry sources said protests over the past few days were related to community grievances about poor roads.

It was unclear how many people had been involved.

Amplats said its output had not been affected.

"No production has been impacted, and with regards to transport we are using an alternative road as the protests have been concentrated at a specific area," a spokeswoman for Amplats said.