JOHANNESBURG New South African mining minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi said on Wednesday he understood that talks, mediated by a labor court judge, between platinum mining companies and the striking AMUCK union had broken down.
"It appears the mediation has come to a stop yesterday," Ramatlhodi, who was sworn in as minister this week, told Johannesburg's Talk Radio 702.
Court officials could not be reached for comment.
The platinum strike is now in its fifth month and is pushing Africa's most advanced economy towards recession, but Ramatlhodi said he was getting involved and was confident of finding a solution.
"The economy is almost knocking at the door of a recession and we should not allow that to happen to ourselves," he said, adding that he had met the leadership of the Association of Mine workers and Construction Union (AMUCK) on Tuesday and would be meeting mining company management today.
"The AMUCK president has assured me they are doing everything possible to reach an agreement with the mining houses," he added. "South Africans are very reasonable people. I've no doubt that they'll find a solution."
His department, which was criticized for doing little to tackle the strike in the previous administration, had also set up an inter-ministerial technical team to help with mediation, he added.
(Reporting by Xola Potelwa; Editing by Ed Cropley/Joe Brock)