Minister of Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe and Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town. Picture: SIYABULELA DUDA / GCIS
Minister of Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe and Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town. Picture: SIYABULELA DUDA / GCIS

Growing unrest at Sibanye-Stillwater's gold operations has left nine people dead since workers downed tools in November, prompting mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe to call on the police to step in and protect the local community.

Mantashe has requested the assistance of the police minister to "restore and safeguard the safety and security of the community" in Carletonville, west of Johannesburg, the mineral resources department said.

"[The strike] has become violent, impacting negatively on communities in the area, with nine deaths reported thus far and an estimated 62 houses burnt down," the department said.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has been on strike at Sibanye's gold operations since mid-November and plans to extend the strike to its platinum mines as well as all other mines where the Amcu has members.

Sibanye-Stillwater said last month it could cut nearly 6,000 jobs at its gold mining operations, where Amcu has been on strike since mid-November over a wage dispute.

Companies including AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony Gold and Anglo American Platinum who received a strike notice, are awaiting a labour court ruling that will decide if mine workers can embark on an industry-wide strike.

Police minister Bheki Cele is expected to visit the area in the next few days, the minerals department said. 

Reuters