Hundreds of workers rioted yesterday, setting fire to two cars and a bus. Three cars were overturned and four offices were torched, said Limpopo police spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.
The strikers were evidently upset about construction group Murray & Roberts using Thai nationals and not locals as welders at the plant.
“We are still trying to get down to the exact cause, but we see that there is some unhappiness there, and we think that is where the protest action was initiated from,” Murray & Roberts spokesman Ed Jardim said.
National Union of Mineworkers spokesman Lesiba Seshoka confirmed anger over the employment of the foreign workers.
Strikers included members of the NUM and Building Construction and Allied Workers’ Union.
The building union spokesman, Narius Moloto, said: “We completely condemn the destruction of property, but the construction companies have a lot of unresolved problems,” he said.
“They want to make money and ignore human needs to do it. Our workers want to be trained to do the jobs these foreign workers are doing.”
Eskom’s Hilary Joffe said the project had been closed until worker safety could be guaranteed.