Rustenburg – Police fired rubber bullets to disperse a group of mineworkers affiliated to the Association Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) in Kroondal near Rustenburg and arrested five of them, North West police said on Friday.
Spokesman Sergeant Ofentse Mokgadi said the police dispersed the group on Thursday afternoon after they ignored a court order.
"The police used rubber bullets to disperse the group. Five were arrested for public violence and contravention of court order," he said.
They were due to appear in the Rustenburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
Sergeant Mokgadi said the company, Newrak Mining, had obtained a labour court order restraining the workers to be 500 metres from the company premises, and the workers had contravened the order.
The Labour Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday, declared the workers action an unprotected strike and ruled that they were not allowed to come within half a kilometre of the company’s head office in Kroondal.
The workers had been sleeping outside the head office after they were allegedly kicked out by landlords for non-payment of monthly rent.
"We have nowhere to sleep, we could not pay rent and we have been locked out of rooms we rent," said the groups spokesman Letlhogonolo Gaserotse.
" Some of us have been arrested, others were injured by police rubber bullets."
He said they slept at a church in Ikemeleng on Thursday night after the police fired rubber bullets at them in front of the Newrak office.
Gaserotse said workers who were employed Newrak as contractors at Sibanye Marikana operations were told to stop working on September 14, by their employer.
The employer wanted to transfer them to Impala Platinum mines or Sibanye’s Rustenburg operations. Gaserotse said it amounted to a dismissal
"We want to be paid our long service packages," he added.
According to an agreement signed between Newrak and Amcu, employees at East 1 and West 1 shaft of Sibanye’s Marikana operation would be transferred to Sibanye’s Rustengburg operation (formerly Anglo or Ampltats and Impala (Implats) with unbroken service.
They would be paid a R200 allowance with immediate effect, all transferred workers would receive a R1,000 re-allocation fee and the company would assist them with transport to move their belongings to the new address.
In a notice to workers on September 26, Newrak stated that the contract between P2 Mining and Sibanye Marikana operation at East 1 and West 1 Shaft ended on September 30, and Newrak has secured contracts with Impala and Sibanye’s Rustenburg operation, which meant the majority of the workers could be transferred to the two mines.
The transfer of workers from Marikana to the new site would require the workers to do a medical exit at Sibanye’s Marikana operation.
Community leaders in Ikemeleng near Kroondal where meeting on Friday, to discuss how best to handle this problem.
African News Agency/ANA