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Cosatu to march to AngloGold Ashanti offices

Thousands of workers are expected to march to Anglo Ashanti offices in Rustenburg.

Anglo miners demonstrate, demanding better wages. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Thousands of Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) members have on Wednesday gathered at the Orkney Stadium in Rustenburg ahead of a march to mining company Anglo Gold Ashanti's offices.

The group is expected to deliver a memorandum of demands which includes the opening of wage negotiations.

Workers at the mine are demanding a monthly wage of R15,000.

Mining operations have been suspended since the beginning of industrial action almost three weeks ago.

Cosatu's Sello Phetoe said they are expecting at least 3,000 members to join the march.

"Anglo Ashanti employers must respond to the demands of the workers. Currently, workers are demanding R16,000. We want to negotiate with the employers."

Meanwhile, the strike has spread to the iron sector, with workers embarking on industrial action at Kuma Iron Ore's Sishen Mine in the Northern Cape.

Around 300 miners went on strike from 2am.

Mine management said there has been no official demand from workers.

On Tuesday, Minerals Minister Susan Shabangu said she would support the reopening of wage negotiations if it would bring stability to the sector.

The mining industry has been plagued by protests in recent months.

At the same time, diamond mining giant De Beers said it has noticed a significant drop in illegal mining since May.

Earlier this year, the bodies of 10 illegal miners were pulled from a collapsed mine tunnel near Kleinzee in the Northern Cape.

At the same time, several so-called "zama-zamas" or illegal miners were rescued from a disused Free State mine.

De Beers' Sakhile Ngcobo said it seemed the deaths in Kleinzee have sent out a strong message.

"It has reinforced the message that crime does not pay. Following the incident we've seen almost no illegal activities."