Police escort for miners

Johannesburg - North West police on Wednesday morning began escorting buses to mines on the platinum belt as some striking miners returned to work.

“We are escorting buses that are transporting workers to work - those who want to go back to work - and protecting people,” Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said.

Striking miners chant slogans as they march in Nkaneng township outside the Lonmin mine in Rustenburg. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko. Credit: REUTERS

“Everything is in place. Police are out and about doing their work.”

Members belonging to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) at Lonmin, Impala Platinum, and Anglo American Platinum in Rustenburg and at Northam in Limpopo downed tools in January demanding a basic monthly salary of R12 500.

The strike has cost the companies about R14 billion in revenue and workers have lost over R6bn in earnings.

Lonmin warned that it might implement restructuring that could lead to a loss of jobs if striking mineworkers failed to return to work on Wednesday.

The company set May 14 as the deadline for employees to end the almost four-month-old strike.

Fears of friction between strikers and miners wishing to return to work arose when Amcu objected to employers approaching miners with their wage offer directly in a bid to end the strike.

On Monday, police said three miners were killed and six others stabbed while on their way to work.

A 60-year-old miner had been stabbed to death, another miner died after being set alight, and a third mineworker and his wife were strangled to death. - Sapa