Wildcat strikes spread
Wage strikes at mines continued to spread yesterday as President Jacob Zuma announced the deployment of troops in troubled areas.
Zuma said he had ordered the SA National Defence Force to support police in the prevention and combating of crime and the maintenance of law and order in Marikana "as well as other areas around the country when needed".
The military supported police in a blitz at Nkaneng informal settlement on Sunday - where most of the 3000 striking Lonmin miners live - in a bid to disarm them following weeks of violent strikes .
The industrial action ended on Wednesday after the miners accepted a 22% salary increase and a R2000 sign-on bonus. The workers returned to work yesterday.
Presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj said the military deployment was for the period between September 14 and January 31 2013.
"The extended period will see the SANDF supporting the police during the festive season period around the country as they did last year," he said.
Small businesses that were forced to close down in the midst of the bloody wage dispute opened their doors yesterday.
While peace returned to Marikana, police had to use teargas and rubber bullets to disperse striking workers at the Anglo Platinum's Rustenburg mine.
The mine reported a 20% turnout and issued an ultimatum to those who did not turn up for work to do so immediately.
Spokesman Mpumi Sithole said the company was disappointed at the low turnout at four of its shafts. She said operations were already under considerable economic pressure, adding that wildcat strikes were making them even less viable.
"The increase in police visibility and action has created an environment conducive for our employees to return to work and isolated incidents of intimidation and violence are being dealt with."
Sithole said legal avenues would be pursued against employees who failed to report for duty.
Strike leaders vowed not to go back to work until Anglo Platinum had considered their demand of a R12500 basic wage.
Evans Ramokga said: "How can we go back to work without what we went on strike for? We are not shaken by the notice."
Talks were continuing at Gold Fields' KDC West mine near Carletonville, where about 15000 miners have been on a wage strike for the past two weeks - also demanding an increase to take their salaries to R12500. - Additional reporting by Lindile Sifile