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South African mine reopens after shootings

Video by Olivia SALAZAR WINSPEAR

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-08-20

The South African platinum mine where 44 people were killed in violent clashes between strikers and police last week has reopened, company Lonmin announced Monday. Striking miners have been given until Tuesday to return to work or face dismissal.

AFP - Embattled platinum miner Lonmin said Monday it had reopened its facility in South Africa after an 11-day wildcat strike that left 44 dead, most of them gunned down by police.

The world's third-largest platinum miner also softened its tone, extending by another day its deadline for 3,000 strikers to return to the job. After earlier threatening to sack them, the company also said they could face "disciplinary action".

"Lonmin can confirm that work at its Marikana operations resumed today as significant numbers of employees returned to work. Almost one third of the 28,000-strong workforce reported for their morning shifts on Monday," it said in a statement.

South Africa declares week of mourning after mine shooting

South African President Jacob Zuma on Sunday declared a week of national mourning in the wake of deadly violence at a platinum mine where police gunned down 34 striking workers.

"The nation is in shock and in pain. We must this week reflect on the sanctity of human life and the right to life as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic," said Zuma three days after the tragedy.

The week's mourning will start on Monday, when flags will fly at half mast at flag stations in South Africa and missions outside the country. Thursday was declared an official day for nationwide memorial services

Source: AFP

Lonmin had pulled down its shutters last week after 3,000 rock drill operators embarked on a violent strike that initially claimed 10 lives before police shot dead 34 of the protesters last Thursday.

The company at the weekend urged its 25,000 non-striking workers and 10,000 contractors to return to the job, insisting they will be safe.

"Those illegal strikers who did not return to work this morning will not be dismissed and have been allowed an extra day in light of current circumstances," the company said in a statement.

About 27 percent of the workforce reported for the morning shift Monday, it said.

Lonmin's executive vice president for mining, Mark Munroe, in a statement after talks with union representatives, acknowledged the tragedy but stressed the need to return to normal.

"What has happened here has been a tragedy, and the pain and anger it has led to will take time to heal," said Munroe.

"But those representing the vast majority of our workforce have been clear again in our discussions today that we need to try to return to some kind of normality as we go through that healing process.

"Tens of thousands of people's livelihoods rely on Lonmin, as well as much of the local infrastructure we provide in terms of health, water, education and housing."

Date created : 2012-08-20

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