Paramedics are on the scene at Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana in the North West where several people are feared to have been killed and others wounded after violence erupted again between police and striking workers.
This comes after the National Union of Mineworkers(NUM) said its members were more than ready to resume work at the mine. Production at the world's third biggest platinum producer came to a halt as thousands of workers, mostly rock drillers, embarked on a wild cat wage strike last Friday.
The SABC's Lizette Labuschagne, who is at the scene, says workers did not want to disperse. "Police this morning gave them a very strict ultimatum to "diperse or we will take whatever necessary force we need to move you," she says.
Earlier this afternoon, police did exactly that and gave them a final warning, brought stun grenades and teargas and started shooting at the striking mine workers. As soon as the police started firing, some of the striking workers ran away but a few were caught in the crossfire.
According to Labuschagne about 12 people are belived to have either been seriously injured or might be dead. Paramedics are at the scene but the police have not given any information as to the status of the 12 people.
Workers have been gathering at the hill top since Monday and police cordoned off the area yesterday and have done so again today. An ultimatum was given for the miners to come down from the hill top and go home peacefully and surrender their fire arms as additional police forces were brought in including the police's intervention unit, which is heavily relied on to disperse the crowd.
Some girlfriends and wives of the mine workers also made their way up to the hill top today, carrying their traditional weapons. They were saying that they are not making a living from the salaries that the husbands and boyfriends are getting at the mine and that they are supporting them to make sure that they do actually get the R12 500 wage increase.