By Hoandi !Gaeb MARIENTAL A row over pay and alleged poor conditions of service almost led to the death of two Chinese nationals on Tuesday afternoon after they were attacked by an angry mob of workers at one of Mariental’s brick-making factories. Police Regional Commander at Mariental, Chief Inspector Kobus Meyer, yesterday confirmed the incident. He said the problem apparently started when workers were busy loading materials onto one of the trucks. One of the owners of the factory instructed the workers not to overload the truck. The workers however continued to load the truck and an argument broke out between the Chinese and the local labourers who became angry and started throwing bricks at the Chinese. Two of the Chinese men were injured and treated at the Mariental State Hospital. Chief Inspector Meyer also confirmed that the Chinese owners had fired most of the workers and yesterday only four people were spotted on the premises. Attempts to reach the injured Chinese for comment proved futile as they are still recovering from wounds sustained during the attack. Both of the injured Chinese have been treated for stomach and back injuries. Chief Inspector Meyer said the injuries could have been worse or even fatal if the Chinese were attacked on their heads and or upper parts of their bodies. New Era has it on good authority that relations between the Chinese owners of the brick-making factory at Mariental and their workers are increasingly deteriorating due to poor labour relations aggravated by a lack of proper communication. Mariental residents are complaining that the Chinese owners sometimes refuse to pay casual workers after work is completed. “It is not the first time that a confrontation has erupted between the Chinese and their workers,” one resident remarked. However, Chief Inspector Meyer said he was not aware of serious differences between the Chinese owners and their workers . Governor of the Hardap Region, Katrina Hanse, was not immediately available for comment. Residents say there is growing resentment of Chinese employers who stand accused of paying starvation wages to Namibian workers.
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