PRETORIA (Reuters) - South African mining minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi said on Saturday he had “done enough work” in mediating between the AMCU union and the world’s top three platinum firms and he believed the two sides would resolve a five-month strike in talks on Monday.
“I think reason will prevail on Monday and we’ll get a solution,” he told a news conference, adding that he had seen both sides giving ground in their demands.
However, he also made it clear an agreement to end the longest mining strike in South African history was not guaranteed.
“We can take them to the river, but we can’t make them drink,” he said.
Ramatlhodi added that the government would pull out of mediation if the two sides did not reach an agreement.
“I‘m hoping the parties can run the last stretch and take us out of the quagmire,” he said.
Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) downed tools at Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin in January demanding that their basic wages be more than doubled to 12,500 rand ($1,200) a month.
The union has so far rejected offers from the company and those proposed by a government team mediating the dispute, dashing hopes of an immediate end to a strike that has halted mines that normally account for 40 percent of global platinum output.
The strike has also hit wider economic output in Africa’s most advanced economy, pushing it into contraction in the first quarter of this year.
($1 = 10.5630 South African Rand)
Reporting by Xola Potelwa; Writing by Ed Cropley and Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo