The reception area of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. File picture: Leon Nicholas

South African stocks fell slightly on Wednesday as a miners strike hit shares of Anglo American Platinum and its parent Anglo American.

Workers at three of Amplats' South African mines went on an illegal strike after the world's top producer of the precious metal on Tuesday announced plans to mothball shafts and cut 14,000 jobs.

A labour leader said after the market had closed on Wednesday that workers would return to work from overnight shifts.

“There's a bit of fear in the market. People are nervous and when they are nervous they dump shares,” said Rigardt Maartens, a portfolio manager at PSG Securities.

The benchmark Top-40 index was down 0.08 percent to 35,479.50. The broader All-share index also closed 0.08 percent lower at 39,879.76.

Amplats' shares were down nearly 6 percent to 458.20 rand while Anglo's shares in Johannesburg were 2 percent lower at 269.79 rand.

Shares of Impala Platinum, the world's No. 2 producer of the metal, were down 3.3 percent at 166.70 rand, after gaining nearly 2 percent on Tuesday supported by a rally in the price of platinum.

Other decliners included IT firm Datatec, which fell 7 percent to 46 rand, after it said its full-year profit was likely to be at least 19 percent lower.

There were 141 companies that gained in the session and another 133 fell with 67 unchanged, as over 186 million shares changed hands. - Reuters