South African Mine Reopens Following Strike, Clashes

Posted August 20th, 2012 at 10:35 am (UTC-5)
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The South African platinum mine where police killed 44 people last week has reopened, with its owner extending a deadline for striking workers to return.

Lonmin PLC said in a statement that work at its Marikana mine resumed Monday with about one-third of 28,000 employees reporting to their jobs.

The company had said striking workers must return by Monday or face dismissal but announced that in light of “current circumstances” it is giving the workers an extra day.

About 3,000 people have joined the strike since August 10 to demand higher wages. Others have stayed away from the mine to avoid violence.

Thirty-four people were killed last Thursday when police opened fire on striking workers. The national police chief says her forces shot in self-defense.

Ten people were killed in earlier incidents at the mine in Marikana township.

President Jacob Zuma has ordered a national week of mourning beginning Monday to remember the lives of all South Africans who died violently, especially the 44 killed at the mine.

Mr. Zuma called on the nation to unite against violence and reaffirm a belief in peace, stability and order.

A committee appointed by the president is due in Marikana Monday to assist the victims' families. A separate team will lead an official inquiry into the shootings.

Lonmin is the world's third-largest platinum producer.

The company says it will pay education costs for the children of employees who died. It calls the strike “illegal” and says the action is “disappointing and damaging” to its labor relations.