File photo: Miners leave at the end of their shift at Anglo Platinum's Khuseleka shaft 1 mine in Rustenburg. During apartheid the miners in the gold and diamond fields brought forth precious metals in exchange for a life denuded of families, says the writer.

Johannesburg - A framework to ensure stability in the mining sector was signed on Monday, the mineral resources department said.

“Today, all stakeholders have agreed to the framework and signed,” spokeswoman Zingaphi Jakuja said in a statement.

The signatories are the Chamber of Mines, the SA Mining Development Association, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), Uasa, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, and Solidarity.

The signatories undertook to denounce violence, intimidation, and lack of respect for life and property; and to call for respect for the laws of the country and different views.

“Officials will now work on a detailed action plan as part of the implementation of the framework and will report back to the principals soon,” Jakuja said.

She said the parties called on workers to refrain from violence, intimidation, illegal gatherings, and strikes.

Monday's meeting followed three meetings last week during which input by Amcu was considered, as it had not yet signed.

“The signing of this framework... is a major achievement towards bringing stability and enhancing collaboration by all key stakeholders to address challenges together in the future,” Chamber of Mines vice president Mike Teke said.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said the framework would be passed on to members for their input.

“The framework is a positive stepping stone towards addressing socio-economic challenges facing the working class, subsequent to identifying the root causes of the mining instability and violence,” he said.

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said significant progress had been made.

“Our work is intended to stabilise the mining industry and will position the industry along the trajectory of sustainable growth and respond to the global market conditions.”

The framework comes after a number of wildcat strikes in the country over the last year.

On August 16, 34 striking mineworkers were shot dead and 78 injured when police opened fire near Lonmin's Marikana mine. Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed near the mine in the preceding week.

On Valentine's Day Harmony Gold announced it would re-open its Kusasalethu mine, near Carletonville, after it was temporarily closed following weeks of illegal strikes in December last year.

On February 20 Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) workers in Rustenburg returned to work after clashes and work stoppages earlier that week.

Amplats workers stayed away from work on February 19 following a clash between security guards and workers at the Siphumelele shaft the day before.

Thirteen people were injured, one of them critically. - Sapa