Police fire stun grenades arrest 7 at Aquarius Platinum
Seven people were arrested after police fired stun grenades at a group of protesters outside Aquarius Platinum which suspended operations on Friday.
"They were arrested in terms of illegal gatherings," said Brigadier Thulani Ngubane.
"We are not going to tolerate it. Ours is to make sure we maintain law and order and that is what we are going to do," he said.
He clarified earlier reports that tear gas had been fired, saying police had used stun grenades.
These made a loud bang and let off big puffs of white smoke but did not contain tear gas.
The group had been told to disperse before the stun grenades were fired.
Since a strike at Lonmin on August 16, dissent has been growing along the platinum mining belt with workers demanding an increase to R12,500 and at Anglo American Platinum to R16 070. Workers at Gold Fields's KDC west shaft went on strike on Sunday and on Wednesday Amplats suspended operations for workers' safety as thousands of protesters spent the days marching around the area carrying sticks and whips.
Earlier on Friday Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said at a press conference broadcast live: "Our government will not tolerate these acts any further."
He announced measures to be put in place to ensure the situation was brought under control.
These included that "illegal gatherings, the carrying of dangerous weapons, and incitement, as well as threats of violence against anyone in the affected areas, will be dealt with accordingly".
Earlier, Aquarius Platinum said it had suspended its mining operations at Kroondal Platinum Mine.
"The decision to suspend mining operations has been taken to ensure the safety and security of employees and assets given the rising tensions and protests within the regional workforce and communities."
Operations were expected to recommence on Sunday.
The situation would be closely monitored.
Earlier a group of protesters had marched from Anglo American Platinum's Blesbok stadium to Aquarius Platinum and demanded that it be closed.
They gave the company 15 minutes to respond.
Shortly after Radebe warned the protesters, police dispersed the striking mineworkers.
Police were seen chasing after protesters near the Rustenburg mine. A police helicopter cornered one of the protesters, who was also being chased by policemen on the ground, and then arrested him.
Protesters ran away and a few minutes later the area was quiet, with no workers to be seen.
Forty five people have died in events associated with the Lonmin strike -- 34 in a clash with police.
free to read for a
limited period! SIGN UP