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Early Implats shutdown ‘for safety’

Impala Platinum shut down all of its Rustenburg operations a day ahead of a major strike.

Impala Platinum shut down all of its Rustenburg operations a day ahead of a major planned strike. Picture: Implats.co.za.

JOHANNESBURG - Impala Platinum says its decision to shut down its Rustenburg operations 24 hours ahead of Thursday's major strike is purely due to safety concerns.

Up to 80,000 Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) members are set to down tools at Implats, Anglo American Platinum and Lonmin.

Implats's Johan Theron says the decision was made to ensure safety and security at its operations.

"We don't know who's going to pitch up tomorrow so we just wanted to shut down our operations in a safe and controlled manner. Given the recent history in the platinum industry, it's probably the right course of action."

Amcu members were also due to begin a strike in the gold sector, but a Labour Court ruling has delayed action pending a review of its legality.

Government, led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, also offered to mediate to try end the dispute.

But Theron says it's unlikely anything can stop the strike going ahead in the platinum belt.

"As things stand right now, it's clear to us a strike will go ahead tomorrow. Hence our reason to take a controlled stop and make sure everything is prepared as much as we can."

Amcu is the platinum industry's main trade union.