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Stability needed for Lonmin wage talks

Executives from Lonmin’s Marikana mine said wages would only be discussed in a stable environment.

Protesters from Lonmin's Marikana Mine in the North West sit on a nearby hill, awaiting instruction from their leaders. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Executives from Lonmin’s Marikana mine on Tuesday said wages would only be discussed in a stable environment.

The situation remains tense at the North West mine, almost two weeks after the miners' deadly clash with police.

Violent attacks have seen 44 lives being claimed since the strike started almost three weeks ago.

Workers have demanded a monthly salary of R12,500 saying the R4,900 they currently earn is not sufficient.

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) has, over the past few days, been mediating talks between Lonmin management and the thousands of protesters in Marikana.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) will also take part in the discussions from Wednesday.

Lonmin’s human capital manager Abey Kgotle said conditions had to be right for talks to happen.

"The process that we see unfolding is one that firstly focuses on peace and stability. We think that without that being in place, the other legs of the process will become meaningless."

Bishop Jo Seoka from the SACC has been conducting the mediations. Progress has been made, but no settlement is in sight.

The workers are reportedly unhappy that Oliphant has stepped in, saying they want Seoka and Lonmin to continue negotiating. 

Mining bosses do however believe a settlement will be reached soon.

Less than 20 percent of Lonmin’s total workforce has reported for duty.

Meanwhile, President Jacob Zuma said the Marikana tragedy should unite the nation and force the nation to do some introspection.

Zuma was speaking at a Businesswomen Association Awards dinner on Tuesday evening.

“This tragedy has caused enormous pain to all of us. It has caused us to look seriously to ourselves as a country.”

(Edited by Thato Motaung)

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