Johannesburg - The end to the platinum strike has brought a stop to the hardships that South Africa has suffered in the last few months, Lonmin chief executive Ben Magara said on Tuesday.

Magara, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) chief executive Chris Griffith and Impala Platinum (Implats) chief executive Terence Goodlace confirmed the agreement outside Lonmin's offices in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg.

“It is only the first step to rebuilding our businesses. It is not a time of celebration, there are no winners in this strike,” Magara said.

He thanked South Africans for their patience.

“The challenge in rebuilding the platinum (business) is going to be strong.”

He said the health of employees and the state of the mines would be dealt with first.

“Work still needs to be done to improve the living conditions of our employees.”

On January 23, Amcu members at Lonmin, Amplats, and Implats downed tools, demanding a monthly basic salary of R12,500.

Amcu announced on Monday that the platinum strike was officially over and it would sign wage agreements with the platinum producers.

The union accepted wage settlements on Monday that would increase the basic salary of the lowest-paid worker by R1000 over three years, excluding other benefits, union leader Joseph Mathunjwa told about 20,000 members at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Phokeng, near Rustenburg.

Some workers would receive R12,500 before the end of the agreement, he said. - Sapa