/ 16 August 2010

No arrests after Aurora shootings, say police

No Arrests After Aurora Shootings

No one has been arrested for the killing of four “illegal” miners, who were shot dead in a shaft at the Aurora Grootvlei mine, police said on Monday.

“One body has been identified. We are currently in the process of identifying the three others. However, no one has been arrested for the shooting,” said Colonel Noxolo Kweza.

Although she did not give his nationality, Kweza said that it had been established that one of the “illegal” miners was a foreign national.

“We are now questioning a few people in relation to the incident,” she said.

When asked if those being questioned were members of the security company contracted to the company — including former Big Brother star “Bad Brad” Woods, Kweza said: “I can neither confirm nor deny that.

“We don’t want pressure from you guys [media]. At the end of the day we want to do a proper investigation. We don’t want to conduct an investigation in newspapers.”

The police pulled out the bodies of four people on Thursday following reports speculating that up to 20 miners could have been shot dead by security guards at the mine, which is co-owned by President Jacob Zuma’s nephew, Khulubuse Zuma, and Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Zondwa Mandela.

The Sowetan newspaper, which broke the story on Thursday, said the security company did not inform the police about the shooting.

“If five people were arrested on Monday, that should mean that police knew about the incident on Monday. Therefore I will not deny nor confirm reports that we read about the incident on newspapers,” said Kweza.

The five people were arrested on an illegal mining charge on Monday.

They had appeared in the Springs Magistrate’s Court on the same day.

“Their charges were dropped pending this investigation,” said Kweza.

‘We have to protect our assets’
Aurora Empowerment Systems commercial director Thulani Ngubane on Friday said that security guards had shot dead the “illegal” miners.

“It is simple … if you go out there and steal gold, should I just go down on my knees and pray? It doesn’t work like that. We have to protect our assets,” he said.

He said miners were trying to gain underground access by force.

“They [the men] had guns and everything … these illegal miners got shot going down underneath by force. Tell me what more our security could have done?” Ngubane asked.

“It’s not as if our people were lunatics and just went crazy. Somewhere, somehow, something needed to happen so there would be a stop to everything.”

Ngubane said six other people were arrested on Friday for allegedly stealing an 8km steel pipe.

“They are continuing as normal. They are still stealing.

“We will be having a strategic planning meeting to see how we can stop this,” he said.

Police could not confirm the arrest. — Sapa