Johannesburg - Two mines in South Africa reopened their
doors on Monday after suspending operations last week as a precaution against
the labour unrest sweeping through the region's platinum belt, although the
situation on the ground remained tense.
Police launched a crackdown over the weekend to disarm
miners and end five weeks of labour unrest, following a government promise to
get tough on strikes that have choked off platinum output in the world's top
producer of the metal.
Soldiers have also been called in to help the police,
although their precise role is not clear.
Aquarius Platinum's Kroondal platinum mine and Xstrata's
chrome mine near Rustenburg restarted on Monday.
Anglo Platinum (Amplats), the world's top platinum producer,
said work at its strike-hit Rustenburg mines would resume on Tuesday, although
a representative of one group of strikers described that as a "joke",
adding Amplats management were "whistling in the dark".
"For us, the reality is that the general strike is
on," Mametlwe Sebei, a self-styled Rustenburg community leader and Marxist
politician, told Reuters. "We are going to be demonstrating in defiance.
We will not be intimidated."
Christopher Tsatsawane, a spokesperson for Xstrata Alloys,
said the situation in Rustenburg remained tense.
"As our employees were coming to work, there has been
intimidation which is all over Rustenburg," he said, adding that only 10%
of its chrome mine's employees reported for work at the weekend due to
Xstrata and other platinum mines in the area have been hit
by wildcat strikes since police killed 34 miners at Lonmin's Marikana platinum
mine on August 16, the bloodiest police action since the end of apartheid in
A total of 45 people have been killed in the unrest.
Police raided a Lonmin hostel on Saturday and seized spears,
machetes and other weapons from strikers. They late used rubber bullets and
tear gas to disperse groups of protesters.
Wage talks between the miners and Lonmin are due to resume
at 08:00 GMT.
On Friday, workers at the mine dismissed an initial Lonmin
offer as way below the R12 500 a month sought by members of the militant
Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), which is challenging
the influence of the more established National Union of Mineworkers (Num).
* Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.