Mining operations are set to resume on Thursday at the trouble-torn Lonmin mine in Marikana.
The strike at Lonmin's Marikana mine near Rustenburg finally ended after more than five weeks, as the workers have agreed to accept a pay increase of 22%. The offer from management also included a R2000 incentive.
The breakthrough was announced at Wonderkop stadium in Marikana by delegates from the South African Council of Churches (SACC), who have been part of the negotiations between workers and mine management.
The agreement comes after the striking workers agreed to lower their R12 500 basic salary demand to R11 000.
Striking mineworkers met their representatives twice today as they tried to negotiate a deal.
This morning, Lonmin printed flyers with its latest wage offer, but some of the workers' representatives set them alight before the mineworkers could see them.
The offer: an increase of R1 875 for rock drill operators. This will see them earn R10 938 a month. The lowest paid worker will get an increase of R1 321. The offer included a R2 000 incentive to return to work, which they agreed they will do on Thursday.
The mining strikes that have stopped work at seven gold and platinum mines have spread to the chrome sector.
Yesterday, President Zuma told Cosatu's 11th elective national congress at Gallagher Estate in Midrand, Johannesburg, that the strikes had cost South Africa close to R4.5 billion in lost gold and platinum production this year. He said this year's work stoppages have subtracted nearly R3.31 billion from the national treasury.
He blamed poor living and working conditions of miners on the apartheid past and the failures of mining companies to honour a charter to improve their lives.
The Lonmin strike has been called the most violent since 1994 with the wage agreement reached seen as unprecendented.