Four shot as South African mining strife spreads

Four protestors have been shot and hospitalized as a wave of deadly strikes afflicting South Africa’s platinum and gold mining sectors continues to spread.

The most recent clash in South Africa’s ongoing labor woes occurred at Gold One International’s (JSE:GDO) Modder East mine on Monday, where protesters had been blocking the entrance since earlier in the day.

Fox Business reports that four protesters were injured after security guards fired rubber bullets and police shot tear gas to disperse a crowd of protestors. Gold One claims forceful action was required after the protestors threw stones at vehicles entering and exiting the mine.

The current round of protests in South Africa’s mining industry first broke out in mid-August at Lonmin’s (LON:JSE) Marikana platinum mine, when 3,000 workers went on strike to demand that their wages be tripled from R4,000 (just under $500) to R12,500 ($1,540).

34 strikers were shot dead by police officers on August 16 and 270 of their fellow protesters were subsequently charged with their deaths before prosecutors withdrew the charges in the face of mounting criticism.

The strikes subsequently spread to Gold Field’s (JSE:GFI) KDC east mine, with both the Marikana and KDC mine still shut at the time of writing.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the labor strife has put overseas investors on edge not only because of the deadly violence involved but also because of talk by local political figures of mine nationalization.

Julius Malema, an expelled youth league leader for the incumbent African National Congress, has been visiting striking workers and issuing repeated calls for the government to seize control of the mines.

Malema told a group of several thousand workers at Gold Fields on Monday that “we must nationalize these mines. It is very clear…the ANC owns the mines. They must give to the people.”

Al Jazeera provides a round up of the growing unrest.

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