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Lonmin negotiators failed: UDM

17 August 2012 - 18:44 By JOHANNESBURG Aug 17 Sapa

Negotiators at Lonmin's Marikana mine had failed, the United Democratic Movement said on Friday.

"Independent mediators, capable of ensuring an immediate cessation of all hostilities, are now required to help bring the parties back to the negotiating table," UDM president Bantu Holomisa said in a statement.

"The UDM believes that the kings, chiefs and religious leaders of the different mineworkers should now be called in to mediate... as it is unlikely that the mineworkers would be willing to listen to the same government that has brutally massacred them."

Holomisa said the SA Human Rights Commission should also be called in to facilitate the mediation process.

The party sent its condolences to the families of those who had been killed on Thursday.

A total of 34 people were killed in a shootout that erupted near the mine on Thursday when police tried to disperse striking miners.

More than 78 people were injured.

Another 10 people had by then been killed in the violent protests at the mine over the past week.

The protests were believed to be linked to rivalry between the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) over recognition agreements at the mine. Workers also wanted higher wages.

The Black Management Forum (BMF) on Friday demanded answers to what happened at the Marikana mine.

"Whilst not apportioning blame on any quarter, the BMF wishes to add its call for a thorough investigation into what happened," BMF deputy president Tembakazi Mnyaka said in a statement.

"An investigation into this matter should also consider some of the underlying causes of the tragedy and provide pointers into how as a nation we can be able to avoid such tragic incidences in the future."

He said the loss of life should not be tolerated in a democratic country where there were avenues for peaceful negations.

The Christian Democratic Party said the unions behaviour contributed to what happened at the Lonmin mine.

"We feel that the irresponsible behaviour of unions and their members, in this case NUM, goes a long way in contributing to conflict situations in the country," CDP spokesman Richard Botha said in a statement.

"Unreasonable salary demands and unacceptable behaviour by union members has long been a bone of contention."

Botha said it was regrettable that people had died.