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'White foreign forces behind platinum strike'

The ANC says 'white foreign forces' are trying to destabilise South Africa's economy.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The ANC has accused 'white foreign forces' of being involved in the platinum strike saying their intention is to destabilise South Africa's economy.

Miners affiliated to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) have been on strike for nearly five months now demanding a R12,500 minimum salary.

Amcu mineworkers show their membership cards during their thousands-strong march to Lonmin's headquarters in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, 3 April 2014. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

After a national executive committee meeting in Pretoria this weekend, the ruling party raised concerns about the real motives behind the strike, questioning whether or not political and foreign forces were involved.

Secretary general Gwede Mantashe said white foreign interests were involved with the intention to destabilise the economy.

But he did not say who these foreign forces were - only expressing concerns that the strike had taken on a political dimension.

The ANC warned Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi to handle the strike with care after he launched himself into the situation, saying his first priority as minister was to resolve the issue.

Ramatlhodi set up a task team to help resolve the ongoing wage dispute and has reportedly managed to narrow down the key issues.

RAMATLHODI LEAVES IT TO AMCU AND MINES

After stepping in to mediate talks, the Department of Mineral Resources said it was now up to Amcu and the mining bosses to continue wage negotiations.

The union rejected the platinum company's latest offer that would have seen its demand met by mid-2017.

Ramatlhodi's spokesperson Mahlodi Muofhe said after today, both parties would have to continue negotiations on their own.

"Even if there's no agreement the parties are at a stage where they can come up with a solution acceptable to both, and the minister said he's disengaging because he has set the tone for the resolution."

Last week, Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa said the latest round of talks "went well", while a newspaper reported the union agreed to a government wage proposal.

Video: Amcu and mining houses re-enter talks.