Amcu to honour slain leader

Thousands of miners have gathered at Karee shaft to remember their late regional chairperson.

Miners singing and dancing as they arrive at mass meeting at the Karee shaft on 16 May 2013. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Thousands of miners, religious leaders and high-profile lawyers have gathered in Marikana to pay tribute to slain Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) official Mawethu Stevens.

Officials will also decide on a way forward following a two-day strike.

The Amcu regional chairperson was murdered at the weekend in what appeared to be a hit, sparking tensions at the already volatile mine.

Stevens was shot dead in a local tavern.

Miners affiliated to Amcu embarked on an unprotected strike on Tuesday, calling for majority recognition at Lonmin.

As the sun sets in the North West mining district, Amcu's presence and stronghold becomes evident.

Thousands of miners wearing their green Amcu t-shirts marched to an open field at the Karee shaft, where they will pay tribute to Stevens.

Bishop Joe Seoka, who played an integral part during 2012 wage negotiations, as well as Advocate Dali Mpofu, who is representing the miners at the commission of inquiry, are among those present.

Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa is expected to address the crowd.

Earlier, cabinet called on all those involved to resolve the matter amicably.

Meanwhile, miners at Anglo Platinum (Amplats) have suspended a strike planned for this evening.

The mining giant said it will deploy security personnel to guard its property.

The strike committees that organised 2012's mass action at Amplats earlier threatened to down tools once again following the announcement that 6,000 miners could be retrenched.

However, union members have now called off their strike.

They said they will wait for the final announcement on planned restructuring from the company's CEO.

Amplats spokesperson Mpumi Sithole said security was alerted about the possible strike.

But Sithole said they are hopeful workers will negotiate with mine management.

"We are hopeful that they will heed the call of using the existing channels to address any issues so that we can sort this out."

Amplats announced its plans to retrench 14,000 workers in January.

However, the plans were halted following an intervention by the Mineral Resources Ministry.

The Congress of the South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has condemned the planned retrenchments, saying they will result in breadwinners losing their jobs.