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Groups show solidarity for striking miners

Human rights groups and miners protested outside Parliament for the rights of striking miners.

Around 70,000 Amcu members have been on strike for four months, demanding a basic salary of R12,500 per month. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Cape Town human rights groups and miners protested outside Parliament on Saturday for the rights of striking mineworkers.

Around 70,000 members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) have been on strike for four months, demanding a basic salary of R12,500 per month.

They have rejected an offer that would bring their cash remuneration to that amount by July 2017.

Former miner Jan Ruiters told Eyewitness News he endured years of hard labour while working the mines 30 years ago but said the livelihood of miners was still taken into consideration back then.

Ruiters said tragedies like Marikana were non-existent.

"There were no strikes for money like now when you have to be killed if you want money."

The Workers International Vanguard League said millions of rands are being pocketed by mine owners who refuse to improve the livelihood of their employees.

The league's Shaheed Mohamed said they have proof of their claims.

"We have proof that Amplats and other mines have been stealing for the past 50 years. The government knows about it and are doing nothing."

The concert will take place at the Orbit Club in Braamfontein this afternoon.

Artists including Gloria Bosman and Sydney Mavundla will take to the stage.

Organisers of the event say the entrance fee of R100 will go towards the destitute families.

Event organiser Lauren Fok says music is a good way to express anger about the way government and mine bosses are treating the very people who are contributing to South Africa's wealth.

Lonmin spokesperson Happy Nkomo says platinum producers are remaining hopeful that the wage talks will yield a positive solution.

"We really hope that we will be able to come up with a solution. It has been costly for ourselves and for the country and we pray that members of the union will talk to their union to come up with a better solution."

In a statement released on Friday night, the world's top three platinum producers denied a settlement had been reached with striking miners.

Reports emerged that Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin had struck a deal with Amcu.

Wage negotiations between the platinum producers and Amcu are ongoing after the union and mine bosses agreed to fresh wage talks.

Amcu claimed the SMS messages were fuelling tensions between workers.

There's been scant information so far about the progress of the wage negotiations but mining analysts and international investors have been closely monitoring the negotiations in the hope that they will bring the crippling strike to an end.

The strike action is the longest in the country's history.

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