Three SA mines come to a standstill

Three of South Africa's biggest mines now face wage strikes.

Striking workers at Lonmin’s Marikana mine continue to demand R12,500 in wages. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - Miners at Gold Fields' KDC west mine in Driefontein on Wednesday said they will continue their strike after management chose not to address thousands of workers on Wednesday.

On Sunday evening, the miners embarked on an illegal strike to rally for wage increases.

Workers said they will continue to strike until management personally addresses the crowd.

But mine managers said they are still deciding what the appropriate course of action will be.

Miners are requesting a wage increase to bring their monthly salaries to R12,500.

In the interim, mine bosses applied for an urgent interdict to end the industrial action.

Management proposed the disgruntled workers send in a delegation of 10 leaders, but the crowd refused fearing they would be fired on the spot.

Earlier, police used tear gas to disperse the crowd after reports of intimidation.


In Rustenburg, around 6,000 workers downed tools on Wednesday at mines owned by Anglo Platinum.

The workers are trying to secure a R14,500 basic wage, but said they would accept R12,500.

The miners held a mass meeting in an open field next to the Thembalani mine, before heading to company's smelter.

That protest lead to the suspension of all operations.

Striking miners said they were unhappy with the way the National Union of Mineworkers (Num) represented them in wage negotiations.

Demonstrators at the mine are planned a joint march with Lonmin workers on Thursday.

Police said the situation is calm and officials will continue to monitor the area.


The South African Council of Churches on Thursday insisted that the Marikana miners were not violent and that they were unaware of the dead body found in the area on Wednesday.

The church group, speaking on behalf of the striking workers, said employees were willing to return to their posts as early as Thursday if their wage demands were met.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) called on Lonmin bosses, workers and unions to meet on Thursday in an attempt to resolve the issue.

Bishop Jo Seoka said he met with the workers' delegation on a daily basis and believes they were committed to peace.

He said they urged the miners to stop using their knives and pangas when marching, because it sent the wrong message.