Angry job seekers torch mine vehicles
CRIMINAL elements have been blamed for the torching of equipment worth millions belonging to the Lafarge mining company in Ncekwane.
Four expensive heavy duty machines - two Bell front end loaders, a Bell water truck and a Cat ADT - with an estimated value of more than R12-million were completely destroyed as angry residents set them on fire last week.
The source added that two vehicles belonging to Lafarge managers were also torched during recent violent protests, in which one manager was assaulted.
‘Residents are demanding employment, so operation had been stopped for a while and was expected to resume last Friday, but it was stopped again when our equipment was set alight,’ the source said.
‘Protesters have vowed to continue protesting until their grievances are addressed.’
She said a group of armed men entered the premises last Thursday night by breaking a fence and chasing the security guards away.
iNkosi Thanda Mzimela said the community and Lafarge were in negotiations to resolve the dispute.
‘The company is busy addressing the issue, but there are some people that took an advantage of the situation to serve their own agenda.
‘I strongly believe that those responsible for torching the equipment are criminals,’ iNkosi Mzimela said.
Attempts to obtain comment from Lafarge’s head office were unsuccessful.
King Cetshwayo Police Cluster spokesperson, Captain Mbongeni Mdlalose, said a case of malicious damage to property was under investigation at Mtunzini SAPS and no arrests have been made yet.