South African Police Fire Teargas, Rubber Bullets at Strikers

South African strikers
South African strikers

South African police fired rubber bullets and teargas to disperse a crowd of striking workers at the world’s top platinum miner Anglo American Platinum on Thursday, said media reports.

The group had blocked roads with rocks and burning tyres near a Rustenburg mine northwest of Johannesburg, Sapa news agency reported.

Police then fired rubber bullets and teargas to break up the crowd.

Around 2,000 people from informal settlements close to the mine were marching in the streets, Eyewitness News radio reported.

Police were not available for comment.

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) started disciplinary proceedings against its 26,000 striking workers at the mine last week.

South Africa’s mining industry is buckling under a wave of strikes that have involved around 80,000 workers, according to experts in the vital sector.

The Rustenburg platinum belt has been rocked by protests since a deadly wildcat strike that began in August at the world’s number three platinum producer Lonmin and spread to other mines.

Lonmin workers sealed a hefty wage hike, ending a six-week strike that claimed 46 lives, despite South Africa’s rich mineral deposits mining companies have failed to pay workers a livable wage.