Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday urged parties in the gold mining sector to reach a wage agreement soon.
"Government can only appeal to parties to find a solution. I don't think we can tell the management of the mine 'accept what the workers are saying', nor can we tell the workers [that]," Zuma told editors at a breakfast briefing in Pretoria.
"We just appeal that the two parties must find one another because a protracted strike is not helpful to the country nor to the industry itself."
Zuma was responding to a question on what government would do to intervene in the potentially damaging strike in the gold sector set to start on Tuesday evening.
"The situation in the mining industry has not been good. To add powerful strikes I think is not going to be good." Zuma said.
Employers in the gold mining industry were issued with a strike notice by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Friday.
The union rejected the final pay offer made by the Chamber of Mines.
Gold mining companies, represented by the chamber, offered a basic increase of 6.5% for category four and five employees, including rock drill operators.
An offer of 6% on the basic wage was made to category six to eight, as well as to miners, artisans and officials.
In addition, accommodation allowances would be increased in accordance with the consumer price index.
The gold mining companies are AngloGold Ashanti [JSE:ANG], Gold Fields [JSE:GFI], Rand Uranium, Harmony Gold [JSE:HAR], Evander Gold, Sibanye Gold, and Village Main Reef [JSE:VIL].
The union is demanding R7 000 a month for surface workers and R8 000 a month for underground workers.