The Straits Times
Published on Sep 19, 2012

South Africa miners celebrate wage deal


MARIKANA (AP) - Lonmin platinum miners celebrated a wage deal on Wednesday that ended a deadly strike, but labour unrest at a different mine took a violent turn when police broke up what they called an illegal gathering near the town of Rustenberg.

"Police asked them to disperse and when they wouldn't, police used tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd," said Gauteng province police spokesman Dennis Adriao. "We've said from the start that we would not tolerate illegal gatherings."

The mine near Rusternberg is owned by Anglo American Platinum. Amplats, as the company is known, has earlier claimed its workers were not striking, but that it had shut down operations to ensure their safety against violent threats.

At Marikana, the scene of the protracted strike by Lonmin miners, thousands gathered and sang the national anthem in piercing heat, covering themselves with umbrellas to block the sun. Workers were cheering and laughing as they walked into the Wonderkop stadium in Marikana near the Lonmin mines. Many said they were happy to return to work on Thursday under the agreement and that a strike that saw more than 40 killed in August has finally come to an end.