Policemen keep watch over striking miners after they were shot outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, 100 km (62 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, August 16, 2012. South African police opened fire against thousands of striking miners armed with machetes and sticks at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine, leaving several bloodied corpses lying on the ground.

Striking Lonmin Mineworkers have accused the company of “lying to the public” about their wages to save face in the wake of an outcry over their meagre earnings.

This comes after the London-listed company disputed media reports that its rock drillers were paid R4 000 a month.

More than 3 000 mineworkers embarked on an illegal strike two weeks ago over pay. The workers demanded that the company pay them R12 500 a month.

This week one mineworker who described his job title as a “general” – who builds support structures underground – showed his salary slip. The mineworker from Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape who has worked for Lonmin since 2008, earned a basic pay of R4 675.

The employee, who did not want to be named, worked 26 eight-hour shifts in June.

Weekend Argus was however told that a “general” was the lowest pay rank for miners going underground.

But workers interviewed including drillers and a winch operator, whose pay rate is said to be on a par with drillers, dismissed Lonmin’s claim that they earned R10 000.

Weekend Argus