The residents, believed to be from the nearby Makhushane, Maseke, Mashishimale and Majeje areas, destroyed a gate at the Palabora Copper mine and eventually gained entrance to the main gate on Wednesday, Letaba Herald reported.
Police officers initially fired rubber bullets at protesters after a vehicle was set on fire, but the protesters proceeded to the main gate. Employees at the mine could not report for their shifts on account of the blocked roads.
Protesters’ anger is said to have been sparked by the managers at the mine for not meeting their demands.
Palabora Copper representative Hulisani Nemaxwi alleged the protesters had hidden agendas, as they did not want to participate in negotiations.
“These marches are influenced by chieftaincy feuds. We are following the correct procedures in hiring, and already more than 500 CVs have been registered on our database,” Nemaxwi said.
The residents claimed the mine was hiring people from outside the area instead of hiring residents. They also claimed the town belonged to the people of Makhushane.
A resident, who did not want to be identified, said the burning of tyres, bushes and the vehicle could be a way of protesters showing their dissatisfaction with the way the mine’s management was handling things.
– Caxton News Service