National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) members embarked on a strike in the gold sector on Tuesday evening after months of failed negotiations.
Neither the employers nor the union, which has the most members in the industry, want to budge. If a solution is not found soon, dire consequences await.
When strikes swept the mining industry in 2012, NUM was the big loser. The union that helped fight Apartheid and has produced so many South African leaders was accused of selling out to mining companies and politicians.
Almost 20 years after the dawn of democracy, there were few noticeable differences in the industry that played a key part in the country's brutal past. The only thing that had changed, said critics, were the bank accounts of union leaders.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) rose to prominence while NUM was labelled the National Union of Management.
This year, NUM is leading the strikes in the gold sector. Hours before more than 80,000 employees, the majority in the industry, didn't turn up to the night shift, the union sent out a stern press release. The "arrogance" of CEOs with huge bonuses means "the union is forced to...