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Rio Tinto gives the boot to 5 workers at Richards Bay for inciting protests

Rio Tinto has fired five of its employees at its Richards Bay heavy mineral sands mine in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province after an investigation found them involved in inciting community protests, City Press reported Sept. 25.

The fired workers are the general manager for community and corporate liaison Fundi Dlamini and four supply chain management staff members.

The protests have been going on for several months, with two unsolved murders taking place during the unrest.

A Richards Bay spokesperson did not say if the dismissals will be followed up with criminal charges.

In May, operations at Richards Bay were suspended after the entrance to the mine was blocked by local residents who demanded permanent jobs and equal business opportunities.