Striking workers at global mining giant AngloGold Ashanti in South Africa on Wednesday stopped miners from returning to work by pelting their buses with stones, the company and a union said. National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said the attack took place at the Moab Khotsong mine southwest of Johannesburg, which is one of AngloGold’s six mines crippled by labour unrest.
“Today when workers wanted to go to work… they were stopped by this small group. Those that left by buses had their buses pelted with stones,” he said. The group of striking workers numbered about 20 people and no injuries were reported. AngloGold Ashanti spokesman Alan Fine confirmed the incident, saying there had been a movement of people back to the mine but that staff could not get to work because of the stone throwing. The foiled attempt to return underground came after thousands of workers trekked back on Tuesday to rival miner Gold Fields, the world’s number four gold miner.
The firm has set a Thursday deadline for 15,000 striking staff, or more than 40 percent of its total workforce, to report for duty or face immediate dismissal. The NUM said it hoped miners will return to work after a massive wave of wildcat strikes, accompanied by violence and intimidation, that have hit producers from platinum to iron ore. “We are hoping all miners will go back to work provided there is enough security,” said Seshoka.