Platinum strike: Army deployed to Marikana

Extra security is on site in the Marikana area in the wake of recent violence.

Striking Amcu members on the platinum belt. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

MARIKANA - As Lonmin Platinum prepares to escort its employees back to work in Marikana this morning, there are warnings that encouraging Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) members to end their wage strike could lead to violent clashes.

Lonmin plans to restart its operations on the platinum belt today after conducting an SMS survey in which it said its employees agreed to its wage offer and a return to their posts.

Amcu's strike for a basic salary of R12,500 is now in its fourth month and three people have been killed in the past week, in what is suspected to be strike-related violence.

Extra security has moved into Marikana in the wake of violence this weekend and this morning and they will escort Amcu members who want to return to work.

But former Amcu member Gaddafi Mdoda said the union was warned its members may start intimidating each other if companies were allowed to bargain with employees directly.

"The workers were united but now they've become enemies. They are fighting, intimidating and killing each other."

Sporadic protests by Amcu members erupted in informal settlements around Marikana on 13 May 2014. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

Mdoda said Amcu members have begun leaving the union because of the leadership's refusal to settle the strike.

"This is killing the union we love and formed in a hard way in 2012. We are losing members everyday"

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa delivered a rousing address to striking Implats miners in Johannesburg, Thursday 27 march 2013. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN

Police have confirmed army troops have been placed on standby in case today's return to work turns violent.

Meanwhile, North West police accused leaders of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) of agitating mineworkers and fuelling tensions on the platinum belt.

The police's Thulane Ngubane said violence escalated after EFF leader Julius Malema endorsed the work stoppage.