Cops deny hitting and dragging amplats worker with armoured car
Reports of a striking worker at Anglo Platinum's (Amplats) mine in Rustenburg being hit and dragged by a police armoured car were false, police say.
"Some media are reporting that the alleged strike leader [at Amplats] informed them that a striker on Wednesday was run over by a police armoured car and dragged several metres," said Captain Dennis Adriao.
"He also alleged to media that the man died in hospital. From the police, we have no such record of such an incident."
Adriao said police had contacted hospitals and mortuaries, but none had known anything about the man, or the alleged incident.
"We obviously encourage anybody that has been injured in anyway by police action to either report it to us or to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate."
He said it was unfortunate that unsubstantiated reports that had not been verified were published and distributed world wide.
"[It] portrays a very negative and further damaging image of the SAPS and the country."
On Friday, the leaders of striking Amplats workers said they had been granted permission to hold a public meeting.
"We have permission to hold a meeting. The permit allows us to hold a meeting from yesterday [Thursday], and on Wednesday we are going to assemble at the Bleskop Stadium to update workers," said Tebogo Lebeke.
He said permission was granted by the municipality on Thursday afternoon. A meeting was planned for Monday in Sondela, and no other meetings were planned for the weekend.
Amplats' workers went on strike last Tuesday, demanding a salary of R17,000, but saying they were prepared to accept R12,500.
The situation was tense at Sondela, near Amplats' Jabula Shaft, in Rustenburg on Friday.
Roads were still barricaded with stones and residents burnt down any remaining hawkers' stalls.
Amplats said on Thursday that the strike was illegal and it had given its workers notice that they were required to return to work that day.
"All the company's Rustenburg Process Operations and the Bathopele mine have resumed full production," spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole said in a statement at the time.
"The company continues to be disappointed with the low turnout rate at four of its Rustenburg mines, which are currently reporting less than 20 percent attendance," she said.
Sithole said the increase in police visibility and action had created an environment conducive for workers to return.
"As already stated, our employees have until night-shift today [Thursday], to return to work, failing which legal avenues will be pursued."
She said Amplats' Rustenburg mining operations were already under considerable economic pressure and the illegal strike was making operations even less viable.
The strike started at Lonmin's Marikana mine on August 10, and has since spread to other mines.