Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa speaks to striking miners at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on June 23, 2014. Picture: Skyler Reid

Johannesburg -

The end of the five-month platinum strike was welcomed by the Democratic Alliance and the Media Workers Association of South Africa (Mwasa) on Monday evening.

DA labour spokesman Ian Ollis said in a statement that the strike had cost the South African economy billions of rands and pushed the country to the verge of recession.

“We encourage all parties involved to work together to restore the platinum belt to maximum productivity as soon as possible. Our economy needs a functional mining sector,” he said.

“We welcome the compromise agreement and now call for a long-term plan from government to ensure that miners have improved living conditions.”

He said President Jacob Zuma's announcement in his State of the Nation address in this regard was most welcome, but must now be implemented to ensure a sustainable improvement in the lives of miners.

Mwasa general secretary Tuwani Gumani in a statement congratulated the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) on their resoluteness.

“The end of the strike involving over 70 000 workers demonstrates the effectiveness of genuine, independent unions that practice democratic centralism where workers are in control of their fate,” Gumani said.

“Many laid their lives down and were forced to go without necessary comforts to make a very valuable point, that change in the structure of the South African economy is long overdue.”

Mwasa saluted Amcu members for standing their ground against derision, undue criticism and discouragement from many quarters.

Amcu announced on Monday that the historic five-month platinum sector strike was officially over and that it would sign a wage agreement with the mines.

The union accepted a wage settlement that would increase the basic salary of the lowest-paid worker by R1 000 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.

Workers would receive back pay within seven days of returning to their jobs on Wednesday.

Mathunjwa said the agreement would be signed on Tuesday. - Sapa