(Adds details, police comment)
MARIKANA, South Africa May 15 South Africa's
National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Thursday it had told
its members to stay clear of strike-hit platinum mines because
of intimidation by the rival AMCU union, which is leading a
16-week stoppage over pay.
"We have said they must stay away until conditions are safe
and the intimidation stops. We are expecting very few guys to go
to work today," Sydwell Dokolwana, NUM's regional secretary on
the platinum belt, told Reuters.
Reuters reporters outside platinum producer Lonmin's
Marikana mine, 120 km (70 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, said
there was little activity with virtually no one showing up to
Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum
have also been affected by the strike, the longest and
costliest ever to hit the sector. The industrial action has
halted 40 percent of normal global production of the precious
On Wednesday, strikers from the Association of Mineworkers
and Construction Union (AMCU) prevented others from returning to
Lonmin's shafts, thwarting the company's efforts to end the
Lonmin had been aiming for a "mass return" of workers but a
spokesman said "a very low number" had showed up. The producers
have said many of the strikers had indicated a willingness to
accept the latest pay offer through SMS polls.
There were no reports of overnight violence, but four miners
were killed at the weekend as some employees prepared to go back
to work at Amplats and Lonmin. Implats' main operations around
the platinum belt town of Rustenburg remain completely shut.
South Africa's police minister vowed on Wednesday to crack
down on violence against those who wanted to return to work and
arrest "within hours" strikers he said were behind a campaign of
Regional police spokesman Thulani Ngubane said on Thursday
no arrests had been made yet. "The perpetrators are known and it
is only a matter of time," he said.
(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; Additional reporting and writing
by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Ed Cropley)