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Lonmin miners return to work

Lonmin miners have returned to work on Thursday after five weeks of illegal striking.

Mineworkers walk to a meeting point, at Lonmin's Marikana Mine. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

MARIKANA - Lonmin miners queued to get into the Marikana mine shafts on Thursday, after being on strike for almost six weeks.

The workers signed a wage deal with Lonmin management on Tuesday.

Mineworkers appeared cheerful as they waited in line to get into one of the shafts.

They will receive a once off R2,000 bonus for honouring the wage agreement.

They said it had been a difficult six weeks without pay.

The miners said many of them would not be going underground until an inspection had been completed, and some said they would attend a refresher course.

But operations are expected to resume on the surface on Thursday.

Yesterday, leaders of the group urged all employees to stop violence that headlined the strike, saying no one should be intimidated as they make their way to work Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, a councillor who was shot in the leg with a rubber bullet during a police operation in Marikana at the weekend has died.

Pauline Masutlhe passed away in hospital on Wednesday, after undergoing surgery to remove the rubber bullet.

She was shot when police engaged in a sweep to disarm miners of their traditional weapons and breakup all illegal gatherings.

The operation came a day after government announced it would implement a zero-tolerance of violence at the town.

Masutlhe formed part of the team that worked with the interministerial committee appointed to resolve the crisis and provided support to families of victims.

With her death, 46 lives have now been claimed by the Marikana strike, including the 34 miners who were gunned down by police on 16 August.

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