South Africa vows to halt miner strikes
on 14/09/2012 21:00:20
It was the first time police have acted against protesting miners since they killed 34 strikers on August 16 at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana.
The clash came as miners rejected a company wage offer way below their demand.
Minister Jeff Radebe told a news conference: "The government will no longer tolerate illegal gatherings and brandishing of weapons in this way."
Within hours, police spokesman Thulani Ngubane said officers fired tear gas to disperse some 1,500 strikers outside an Xstrata Platinum mine.
Previously they had allowed miners waving machetes, knives, spears and clubs to hold marches outside mines.
Despite the police action, Xstrata said it has temporarily suspended operations at Kroondal mine "to ensure the safety and security of employees and assets" amid "rising tensions and protests".
The mine employs 5,300 workers who apparently were being threatened by outside strikers from Lonmin, Ngubane said.
Strikers are calling for walkouts at mines across South Africa, raising fears for the future of the industry.