JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — South African police and security guards fired rubber bullets and tear gas Monday at sacked gold miners who were attacking colleagues to block them from working, the mine owner said. Police said four people were wounded.
The clash at the Gold Fields mine east of Johannesburg, reported by police and Neal Froneman, the CEO of Gold One International, was the latest violence to hit South Africa's mines in months of unrest.
Gold Fields miners who were fired after a wildcat strike in June joined miners who lost their jobs two years ago to try to stop workers and managers from reaching the mine, Froneman said.
The mine has previous business ties to relatives of Nelson Mandela and President Jacob Zuma — and was the site where firebrand politician Julius Malema, an avowed enemy of Zuma, pledged last week to make the nation's mines ungovernable.
South Africa's mining unrest reached a bloody climax on Aug. 16 when police shot 112 striking workers, killing 34 of them, at a platinum mine at Marikana, northwest of Johannesburg. The violence was reminiscent of apartheid days and has seriously damaged the government's image.