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Task team takes aim at platinum strike

The new Minister of Mineral Resources has promised to find quick solutions to the stalemate.

Anglo American Platinum’s Khuseleka mine shaft in Marikana, North West. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - A newly-established intergovernmental technical team will meet with mining bosses and union leaders on Wednesday in a bid to end the protracted strike in the platinum sector.

Newly-appointed Minister of Mineral Resources Ngoako Ramatlhodi announced the formation of the team earlier today.

He promised to work with all interested parties in reaching a solution to the impasse.

About 70,000 Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) members have been on strike for more than four months, demanding a R12,500 basic salary.

Several deaths and claims of intimidation have tainted the strike in recent weeks, with the latest incident involving the petrol bombing of two homes belonging to non-striking workers.

The task team comprises of officials from Mineral Resources, Labour and National Treasury.

Thursday's meeting will be the minister's first attempt at solving what's become South Africa's longest and costliest mining strike in history.

Impala Platinum, Anglo American Platinum and Lonmin have already lost more than R20 billion in revenue since workers downed tools.

Striking workers have also lost billions in unpaid wages.

After being sworn in on Monday, Ramatlhodi said his first goal was to deal with the strike.

"It's my duty and responsibility to find solutions, quick solutions, to the strike that has ravaged the country for quite a long time."

His spokesperson Mahlodi Muofhe says the whole country believes it's time for a solution.

"The strike has being going on for far too long. There are no winners in this game now. Workers have lost, investors have lost and vulnerable children are losing out as well."

He says all parties must attend the meeting with open minds.