Lonmin strike deal welcomed
The Marikana inter-ministerial committee [IMC] led by Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane has welcomed the end of the protracted strike at Lonmin, it said on Wednesday.
"This deal marks the end of a six-week long strike which has seen the unfortunate loss of 45 lives," spokesman Harold Maloka said in a statement.
Maloka said the deal which ended the strike was achieved through the efforts of the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration, religious and traditional leaders, labour movements and worker representatives.
The strike ended on Tuesday evening, when workers and the company reached a pay agreement.
"The Inter-Ministerial Committee wishes to express its appreciation to all parties involved for finally finding a solution to this matter."
The end of the strike had given concrete expression to what South Africa was known for, which was resolving differences through dialogue, said Maloka.
"The IMC is quite pleased and relieved that this matter has finally come to an end and wishes to congratulate all parties who were involved."
The committee believed the matter had presented challenges to all of South Africa and its citizens.
"We are also of the view that there are lessons to be drawn from this experience," said Chabane.
Business Unity SA (Busa) was also pleased the Lonmin strike had come to an end.
"It is unfortunate and regrettable that it took six weeks and  deaths -- in addition, economic and productivity losses -- to reach this point," said CEO Nomaxabiso Majokweni.
She reiterated Busa's position that the appointed judicial commission of inquiry commence its work to investigate the causes of the events and recommend steps to be taken to avoid a recurrence.
"This will also go a long way in rebuilding investor confidence."
Majokweni said the Lonmin agreement affirmed the importance of a structured approach to resolution of workplace disputes.
"Now, more than ever, there is need for stability in the labour market. Industrial peace is best achieved within a framework of clear rights and obligations."
Community organisation The Economic Freedom Fighters congratulated mineworkers for standing up, leading themselves and demanding decent wages, said spokesman Floyd Shivambu in a statement
"The workers led themselves in the absence of credible unions to represent them, and workers fought their own battles in the absence of political leadership in the country to give guidance."
Shivambu said that now that a wage settlement had been reached, justice should be sought by the families of the 34 workers killed in the police shooting at Marikana on August 16.
"The strength, durability and sustainability of South Africa's democracy and freedom will be tested with the events that should now happen to secure justice for the victims of Marikana..."
The Economic Freedom Fighters had assembled legal representatives to pursue cases related to the shooting, Shivambu said.
Shivambu is suspended spokesman for the ANC Youth League. Its expelled president Julius Malema spoke to workers at one point and was outraged at being turned away from one of their meetings on Monday.
In terms of the agreement, the lowest underground worker would now earn R9611 (up from R8164), a winch operator would earn R9883 (up from R8931), a rock drill operator would earn R11,078 (up from R9063) and a production team leader would earn R13,022 (up from R11,818).
All workers would also receive a once-off R2000 bonus and were expected to return to work on Thursday morning.
Lonmin spokeswoman Sue Vey said the company was confident workers would return to work on Thursday.