File picture - A Lonmin mine shaft at Marikane in North West. Photo: Leon Nicholas

Rustenburg - A peace accord signed by parties involved in the Marikana talks paved the way for social harmony and peace, the inter-ministerial committee (IMC) said on Thursday.

“We congratulate the negotiating team for having come this far and call on all stakeholders to stay committed to finding a peaceful resolution and fulfilling the commitments agreed to in the peace accord,” IMC chairman Collins Chabane said in a statement.

“The committee expresses its appreciation to the 1/8Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration 3/8 CCMA, religious leaders, traditional leaders, labour movements... and all parties who continue to work tirelessly to ensure that an amicable solution is found to the dispute, and that stability prevails in Marikana.”

Chabane said the IMC was concerned that some parties had not signed the peace accord and encouraged them to do so, so that negotiations could continue.

The peace accord was signed in the early hours on Thursday, but the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and Marikana workers' representatives did not sign the pact.

The accord levelled the ground for wage negotiations. It also included a commitment to create a peaceful work environment.

Trade union Solidarity welcomed the signing of the accord.

General secretary Gideon du Plessis said the pact signed was endorsed by Solidarity, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), UASA and Lonmin management.

“The... parties committed themselves to peace and negotiations during which, among other things, the striking workers' demand of a R12,500 wage will be discussed,” Du Plessis said.

The negotiations would take place under the direction of the CCMA.

“The process will start as soon as the striking workers lay down arms and return to work.”

He said Amcu did not want to formally commit to the agreement and there was uncertainty about whether the striking workers' representatives were in fact Lonmin employees.

Despite this, Lonmin and the recognised trade unions would give the striking workers an opportunity to air their grievances in a legal manner.

“With this agreement, the moment has arrived for Amcu and the striking workers to show whether or not they can function in a peaceful environment.”

The NUM has also welcomed the signing of the accord.

Spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said it signalled the end to the threats and intimidation which had become a characteristic of daily life of the North West mining community.

“The NUM further appeals to Amcu to come on board and be a signatory of the peace accord,” he said.

“Not being part of the accord sends a wrong message to the workforce, a message of divisions and lack of common purpose. All parties must agree to organise in peace and harmony devoid of threats, intimidation and violence.” - Sapa