A row has erupted between villagers in Sekhukhune in Limpopo and the mana- gements of four of the country's biggest mining houses over allegations of nepotism and employment policies.
The row prompted Premier Sello Moloto, pictured, to intervene in an effort to to resolve the dispute.
At the centre of the row are allegations that Anglo-Platinum, African Rainbow Minerals, Inkwe Platinum and Genora mine were practising nepotism.
They were also accused of not living up to their social responsibility promises.
Moloto met the Kgoshi Kgwete community of Sekhukhune, near Burgersfort in Polokwane, on Tuesday to discuss ways of resolving the differences.
The villagers accuse the mining houses of awarding jobs to people from outside the area, leaving locals with abundant mining skills in the lurch.
The villagers told Moloto that the 8,5percent shares they were entitled to in the mines were a drop in the ocean. They said the shares could not help reduce poverty in the area.
Many people in Sekhukhune are unemployed and depend on government grants.
In 2002, President Thabo Mbeki also identified the area as being among those that needed urgent job creation and development.
Spokesman for the villagers, Emmanuel Makgoga, claimed the mining companies did not consult the villagers when they first came to mine the area.
He said the differences started when the mining companies bulldozed the graves of their forefathers without their consent.
"Our ancestors are now angry and are unable to communicate with us because of these illegal operations," said Makgoga.
"We have hundreds of people with mining skills. We believe we are able to mine and in turn help fight poverty on our own," he said.