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Govt, unions to discuss mining unrest

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said unruly behaviour by unions will not be tolerated.

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu. Picture: Regan Thaw/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu on Tuesday announced that her ministry, the Department of Labour and National Treasury will meet trade unions to discuss unrest in the mining sector.

She made the announcement during her budget vote speech in Parliament, Cape Town.

The minister said South Africa's mining industry still has a lot to offer.

Shabangu said unruly behaviour by unions will not be tolerated.

"We will not tolerate anarchy, violence, intimidation and illegal strikes. It threatens not just our democratic freedom, but also the sustainable growth and employment in a sector with so much to offer, not only in terms of retaining employment but also in creating new jobs."

Earlier in 2013, unions committed to coexist but tensions soon led to violence and illegal work stoppages in the platinum belt.

In May, workers affiliated to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) downed tools at Lonmin's Marikana mine in the North West.

Workers called on mine management to give Amcu full recognition as the majority union at the operation.

Striking miners also called on the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) to vacate offices at the operation.

Amcu called off the strike after three days.

On Monday, it emerged that workers could strike once again after recognition talks deadlocked.

This is not the first time the mine has been in the spotlight.

In August, 34 striking workers were gunned down at the hands of police during an illegal strike over wages.

The deadly shooting made international headlines.

Shortly after the shooting, President Jacob Zuma set up an inquiry to determine whether police were justified in using lethal force on demonstrators.

In a separate incident last week, miners and security personnel clashed at Lanxess chrome mine.

Ten people were injured when guards used rubber bullets on angry protesters.

Workers embarked on the unprotected strike demanding performance bonuses.

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