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North West - Striking Lonmin mineworkers flocked to an open space in Marikana on Tuesday morning for another day of protest in demand of a wage increase.
They streamed from all directions to an open space near the Wonderkop hill where police fired on protesters on August 16, killing 34 of them and wounding 78.
They brought umbrellas with them to shield them from the scorching Rustenburg sun.
Media crews, many of them international, have set up camp there and were watching the crowd.
There were also armed police in the area, with four police Nyalas parked at the entrance to a shaft at the nearby Karee mine.
On Monday, protesters wielding knobkerries, pangas and spears marched from mine shaft to mine shaft calling for the closure of all operations.
They also tried to rope in non-striking workers from the mine shafts and the mine hostels.
They then went to an open space near the hostels, from where Lonmin buses later took them to a hill where the humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers was handing out aid.
The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) was on standby on Tuesday to reopen wage negotiations, should the striking workers return to the negotiating table.
“The CCMA is on standby to commence negotiations should miners comply with the peace accord brokered last week,” said CCMA spokesman Nersan Govender.
In terms of that accord, workers must go back to work for pay talks to resume.
Attendance figures on Tuesday morning were at three percent, said Lonmin spokeswoman Sue Vey.
Police and mine security had received no reports of trouble or violence at the mine overnight, she said.
The talks are aimed at ending a month-long strike at the mine, which employs around 28,000 people and is one of the world's largest platinum producers.
Production has, in effect, been halted since August 10.
The talks were scheduled to start at noon on Monday.
Representatives of the National Union of Mineworkers, UASA, Solidarity and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union were present, as were representatives of the company. The workers' representatives were not there.
They and the CCMA waited for representatives of a splinter group of about 3000 people to arrive, but they sent a clergymen to say they would not be coming and would return to work only if their salaries were increased to R12,500.
Work attendance was only 6.34 percent on Monday. The striking workers marched outside. - Sapa