'Hire us or leave our land‚' demand residents of platinum belt
"Hire locals and procure local suppliers - or leave our land!"
That is the message that residents of Madibeng district municipality in the North West will be sending to seven platinum mines in Brits on Wednesday‚ according to community leader Robert Ngwenya.
Residents of Maboloka township outside Brits on Wednesday morning blockaded roads with burning tyres and rubble. This happened as they were readying themselves to convene at the Brits sports grounds at 10am to be addressed by their leaders before going to the mines to submit their demands.
Ngwenya said it was high time that mines in the area - which include Lonmin in Marikana‚ where mine workers were gunned down six years ago - prioritised locals for employment and business opportunities.
"The main essence of our march is to say to the mine owners it is either they want to work with the surrounding communities or they must leave and we will deal with our land‚" said Ngwenya.
A concerned unemployed resident of Maboloka‚ Mpho Tsomakae‚ said: "How can you employ someone from Mthatha when I'm here in Maboloka just 30km from the mine?
“The mines must hire the local people‚ failing which they must pay carbon emission tax that will benefit the surrounding communities because they're damaging the ozone layer for no benefit to locals.
“They are not paying tax and do not care about locals.
“If they do not accede to our demands‚ we will chase them away and establish our mines because we know how to exhume the minerals from underground and run the whole mining system ourselves‚” he said.
“What is currently happening is rubbish!"