Three stationary cars were torched at Impala Platinum’s Rustenburg operations in the North West on Wednesday morning (14/05/2014).
“Yes, I can confirm that. The three cars were set alight but there were no injuries,” Implats spokeswoman Alice Lourens told Sapa.
No one was in the cars at the time.
The vehicles were parked on the mine’s property.
Meanwhile, North West police said they had to escort buses to mines as some striking miners returned to work on Wednesday morning.
“We are escorting buses that are transporting workers to work, those who want to go back to work, and protecting people,” Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said.
“Everything is in place. Police are out and about doing their work.”
Lonmin declined to say how many of its employees had returned to work in the platinum belt, maintaining it was “a process”.
“We are not going to be providing a blow-by-blow insight of the number of people returning because that’s what incites violence,” spokeswoman Sue Vey told Sapa.
“It is a process. People are returning to work but there has been intimidation.”
She could not provide details.
Lonmin had warned that it may implement restructuring that could lead to job losses if striking mineworkers failed to return to work on Wednesday.
The company set Wednesday as the deadline for employees to end the almost four-month-old strike.
The deadline did not apply to Implats or Amplats workers.
“Our operations [Implats] are still closed. That only applies to one company, and it’s not us,” said Lourens.
Amplats spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, about 5000 defiant miners gathered at the Wonderkop Stadium at Marikana on Wednesday, refusing to return to work.
Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) at Lonmin, Implats, and Amplats in Rustenburg and at Northam in Limpopo downed tools on January 23 demanding a basic monthly salary of R12,500.
The strike has cost the companies over R17.8 billion in revenue and workers have lost more than R7.9bn in earnings, according to figures on www.platinumwagenegotiations.co.za.
Fears of friction between strikers and miners wishing to return to work arose when Amcu objected to employers approaching miners with their wage offer directly in a bid to end the strike.
On Monday, police said three miners were killed and six others stabbed while on their way to work.
A 60-year-old miner had been stabbed to death, another miner died after being set alight, and a third mineworker and his wife were strangled to death.
North West premier Thandi Modise called for calm in the area.
“Parties involved in the… wage dispute in the platinum belt should act responsibly to avoid violent confrontations at all costs,” she said in a statement.
“Resorting to threats of dismissals, court actions and mobilising for intensified intimidation and violence against non-striking workers and those who wish to return to work… will only serve to exacerbate the already volatile situation that demands urgent responsible action. – Sapa