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Oct 17, 2012

Return to work now, Zuma tells striking miners

Construction|Africa|Business Unity SA|Environment|Industrial|Mining|SECURITY|System|Africa|South Africa|Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse|Hlengiwe Mkhize|Jacob Zuma|Joseph Mathunjwa|Pravin Gordhan|Zwelinzima Vavi

Workers engaged in rampant wildcat unprotected strikes across the country should return to work immediately, President Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday.

Emerging from a meeting with representatives of government, business and civic society at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Zuma said the parties had agreed that spontaneous acts of intimidation and violence were affecting the economy.

"We call on workers who are engaged in unprotected strikes to return to work as soon as possible, and for production in the mining industry to normalise," he said.

"We agreed that violence and intimidation must come to an end. These have no role in our system and simply have a negative effect," said Zuma.

He said the Constitutionally enshrined right to protest must be exercised peacefully.

"We will not compromise on this. The parties fully support all lawful action by the justice, crime prevention and security cluster to stabilise communities and normalise daily lives across all communities," he said.

The frustrations and challenges of workers had been taken note of, said Zuma. He said legitimate grievances would be addressed.

Wednesday's meeting was a follow-up, following the initial summit held on Friday. The meetings are aimed at discussing problems facing the South African economy.

The closed-door meeting was attended by several government and other officials, including Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, and Joseph Mathunjwa, president of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

The summit coincides with the annual International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

The day, officially recognised by the United Nations, is aimed at raising awareness of the need to eradicate poverty across the world.

A statement on the presidency's website said the conference would discuss problems bedevilling South Africa emanating from slowing global economic growth, the industrial relations environment in the country, and the need to speed up the fight against poverty, inequality, and unemployment.

Edited by: Sapa
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