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Mining pact on hold

Amcu requested an opportunity to take the agreement to members before signing.

FILE: AMCU's Joseph Mathunjwa speaks during a media briefing. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) is yet to sign a framework agreement which could bring an end to the violence plaguing the mining industry in South Africa.

The agreement was brokered by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and was agreed to by all other major role players, including the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Chamber of Mines, represented by Vice-President Mike Teke.

Speaking to The Money Show's Bruce Whitfield on Wednesday evening, Teke said Amcu requested an opportunity to take the agreement to their members before signing.

Teke said that while many might be disappointed by the delay, he remained optimistic.

"I feel that we must give Amcu the room to consult with their members and they will come back and sign it."

He added Amcu should not let themselves "be on their own" by not accepting the agreement.

Wage demands and ongoing violence on the platinum belt dominated the talks at the presidential guesthouse in Pretoria on Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier in 2013, Motlanthe was tasked with stabilising the troubled sector.

The meeting was scheduled to last around 30 minutes, but went on for hours.

Teke did not explain the delay.

Earlier reports suggested recent wage demands in the platinum and gold sectors were holding up the talks.

Whitfield also spoke Business Day Resources Editor Allan Seccombe.

He suggested Amcu had in fact stalled the meeting by insisting on certain preconditions that had to be met before they would sign.

"It looks like there's quite a lot of face-saving," he said, with people saying Amcu wanted to speak to its members rather than admitting that an actual agreement had not been made.

Earlier on Wednesday, the NUM accused Amcu of intimidating its members, signalling a continuation of bitter rivalry.

The NUM used to be the majority union at Lonmin's Marikana mine, but Amcu now represents about 70 percent of employees.

The NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said disruptions were reported at recruitment drives at two Lonmin mines.

"The people who threatened our members at the Eastern Platinum Mine were wearing Amcu t-shirts. We therefore assume that they were Amcu members."

The mining sector has been in the spotlight after 34 miners were gunned down at the hands of police at the Marikana mine in the North West on August 16.