The death toll in an apparent turf war between two labour unions at Lonmin's platinum mine at Marikana in NorthWest now stands at nine. Five mineworkers, two police officers and two security guards have died in the violence.
One police officer has been stabbed with a spear and is in a critical condition. The chaos started last Friday, when four mineworkers were shot and critically wounded during a protest march over wages.
Members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) are reportedly fighting for control of local mines.
Mining analysts say a shutdown could not have come at a worse time. Global demand for platinum is falling.
NUM has distanced itself from the killings while rival union, AMCU says NUM is not blameless. It says NUM and Lonmin excluded them from wage talks.
National organiser of AMCU, Dumisani Nkalitshana, accuses NUM of blaming his union whenever there is trouble in the mines. He says this is because AMCU's membership in the mines is growing rapidly.
Nkalitshana has also distanced his union from the current violence at the mine. Nkalitshana alleges that, since NUM's recognition agreement with Lonmin ends at the end of this month, NUM is now, allegedly causing problems at the mines, so that, this can be blamed on AMCU.
Mining analysts say a shutdown could not have come at a worse time. Global demand for platinum is falling. The area remains volatile and police are still at the scene