Rustenburg — Hundreds of protesting Anglo Platinum (Amplats) mineworkers gathered outside Bleskop stadium in Rustenburg on Friday morning, as their industrial action entered a third day.
Gates to the stadium were locked and the protesters milled outside near a main road, chatting in smaller groups. Due to the scorching Rustenburg sun, the mineworkers had brought umbrellas while others took shelter under the shade of trees.
Protest leader Gaddafi Ndoda said arrangements were being made to unlock the gates of the stadium, owned by Amplats.
"We are waiting to get the keys and let the workers into (the stadium).
We are not expecting a crowd as big as yesterday's. We have even told some of them (the protesters) not to come today," he said.
At 10am the crowd of protesters was steadily swelling as more strikers arrived. Some were walking while others arrived in cars and taxis.
Few protesters carried sticks.
On Thursday, an Amplats protester likened their jobs to that of hunting dogs.
"You send a dog to hunt for an animal, and when it comes back with it, you eat alone and give it bones. Now we dig for platinum, but our bosses are getting more money," said 30-year-old Sibusiso Zozi.
Zozi said the R5000 he was getting was not enough to support his three children.
Workers were on strike because they believed the platinum they were digging up was valuable.
"We know there is money there."
Another worker, Nora Nape, 34, said much of the money she received was used to pay off loans.
"I have to travel every day, I have to support my family. So, I make loans in trying to balance my finances," she said.
Mineworkers demanded pay of R16,070 a month at a meeting held at Bleskop stadium on Thursday.
Amplats suspended operations on Wednesday out of concern for the safety of its employees, and said there was no strike at the mine.
CEO Chris Griffith said the situation in the Rustenburg area was volatile, and that people who wanted to go to work could not because of threats of violence.
"Anglo American Platinum has decided to suspend its operations in the Rustenburg area with immediate effect," he said in a statement.
"The suspension will continue until such time as operations can be safely resumed."
Amplats chairwoman Cynthia Carroll said the company was in touch with authorities "at the highest level" to identify ways of working with government and the recognised labour unions to achieve a swift and peaceful resolution.
She said the company's Rustenburg platinum operations were already under financial pressure, and the suspension of operations risked their long-term viability.