Amplats miners return to work

Workers at the Komanani Mine have abandoned their illegal strike.

A group of workers wait outside the Khomanani Mine on 16 January 2013. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Anglo Platinum miners on Wednesday told Eyewitness News they were scared of losing their jobs and have agreed to return to their posts to allow their leaders to arrange a legal strike.

On Tuesday, Amplats announced restructuring plans which could see 14,000 jobs being lost.

The news triggered an unprotected strike among thousands of miners.

Hundreds of them gathered outside the Komanani Mine earlier, but have now returned to their shaft to report for duty.

One miner said his future looks bleak.

"There's a possibility that I'm going to lose my job. My family will face starvation because I'm the breadwinner. I have a wife and two children."

At the same time, Mining Minister Susan Shabangu said Anglo American Platinum's restructuring process not only affects the industry but thousands of lives.

Shabangu expressed outrage with the company's plans.

She said the company had initially agreed to involve government in the process.

"I said to them we should we work together."

The minister also said if jobs are lost it could have dire consequences.

"Business decisions have a direct bearing on the regulator. Those business decisions have to recognise that there are human beings who are employed there and their lives are at stake."