Johannesburg - Just over a quarter of workers had returned
on Monday to the platinum mine in South Africa where 44 men were killed last
week in violent clashes, after mine owner Lonmin threatened to sack about 3 000
striking workers if they did not turn up.
started slowly but is now up to 27%. But it is unclear if the striking workers
are returning,” a Lonmin spokesperson
told Reuters. About 3 000 striking workers at the world’s No.3 platinum
producer face an ultimatum to show up on Monday or be sacked.
A panel of investigators appointed by President Jacob Zuma
is also expected at the sprawling Marikana mine about 100 kilometres northwest
of Johannesburg, where 34 miners armed with spears, machetes and handguns were
gunned down in a hail of police fire that brought back memories of
Ten people were killed prior to the police shooting,
including a shop steward from the National Union of Mineworkers (Num), who was
hacked to death.
Police spokesperson Dennis Adriao said there had been no
reported incidents on Monday morning.
“There is a high police presence and visibility,” he said.
The strike was sparked by a spreading battle for membership
between the Num and the upstart Association of Mineworkers and Construction
Union, which has accused the Num of caring more about politics and personal
enrichment than workers in mine shafts.
Hundreds of police have camped out at the mine, patrolling
in small convoys of vehicles and conducting aerial surveillance by helicopter.
Zuma also declared a national week of mourning to remember
those killed in the mine violence.
Union leaders have also said they were not sure if the
striking workers would report to the shafts.
London-based Lonmin, which accounts for 12% of global
platinum output, was forced last week to freeze mining as a result of the
violence, but essential services such as ventilation have been maintained so
the mines can quickly restart.
Company officials could not immediately say when ore would
start coming out of the earth again.
The stoppage has driven the platinum price to six-week highs
over $1 460 an ounce, but much of the industry remains unprofitable at a time
when it is grappling with a wave of labour unrest.
Lonmin had already slashed spending plans before the latest
flare-up of violence and may miss its annual production target of 750,000
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