FILE PHOTO: Striking miners gather outside a South African mine in Rustenburg.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant on Thursday urged the parties involved in the conflict at Lonmin's Marikana mine in North West to seek mediation.

“The violence that has occurred cannot be condoned,” she said in a statement.

“(It) has no place in the way labour relations and inter-union relations should be conducted.”

Ten people had been killed in violent protests at the mine since last Friday. The protests were believed to be linked to rivalry between the National Union of Mineworkers (Num) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) about recognition agreements at the mine.

Oliphant said the parties had been in talks with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) from the beginning of the year until the end of July. One of the parties however walked away from negotiations.

Oliphant urged them to reconsider talks with the CCMA, and to work with the police to bring an end to the conflict at Lonmin.

Labour department spokesman Musa Zondi said Num, Amcu and the employers participated in the meetings.

He said the CCMA meetings were part of an agreement for the unions and employers to talk about member verification across the platinum mining industry. Member verification determined which workers were members of a particular union.

Zondi declined to say which party broke off the talks. - Sapa