15/10/2013.Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa responds to a question during the first SAPS summit on suicide prevention held at St. Georges Hotel. Picture: Masi Losi

Rustenburg - Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa arrived under heavy police guard in Freedom Park near Rustenburg on Wednesday.

Locals lined the streets as his convoy drove in.

The area in the heart of North West's platinum mining belt has the past months been reeling from the country's longest strike in the private sector since 1987.

As the minister arrived, one of the strikers, mineworker Khululani Mpongo, said: “Even if they arrest us or kills we will not go underground without R12 500.”

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) have been on strike since January 23 demanding a basic salary of R12 500 per month.

Mthetwa led a delegation of security cluster ministers to asses the state of readiness for voting in the violence-prone platinum belt.

He visited the burnt RDP house of ward councillor Tiego Makopo, a municipal building, and the house of Rustenburg municipal speaker Boipelo Marekoa-Kodongo.

A group of young men told Mthetwa that Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula should explain what happened.

“Mbalula arrived and things burnt. Just ask him. We do not know what happened. He spoke to people, thereafter there was fire,” he said in isiXhosa.