JOHANNESBURG, Aug 23 – South Africa’s trade minister on Thursday sought to assure foreign investors over tensions in the platinum sector as the country readied to mourn 44 people killed in a wildcat mine strike.
Rob Davies said shares in Lonmin which owns the Marikana mine where police shot 34 striking workers dead a week ago had been hit with “some anxiety about similar mines”, but that the state had moved to act.
“We haven’t seen any projects being adversely affected as a result of it,” Davies told Talk Radio 702, saying South Africa’s broader investment climate had not been badly impacted.
“So I think it’s an enormous tragedy but I don’t think we should over-read into it (that) suddenly the investment climate is turning sharply against us and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
With the country’s flag already flying at half mast, memorials will take place Thursday nationwide as part of a week of mourning declared after the worst day of police violence since apartheid.
The main memorial service will be held in Marikana near where the 34 people were gunned down last week, bringing the death toll at the Lonmin mine to 44 after inter-union clashes days earlier. It will be led by religious leaders.
Shares of the world’s number three platinum producer Lonmin have slumped, as tensions appeared to ripple out to nearby mines.
Hundreds of workers at the nearby Royal Bafokeng Platinum downed tools over wages and the world’s top producer Anglo American Platinum has also been handed demands from its employees.
A judicial commission has been announced to investigate the shootings, while police and the independent police watchdog are also carrying out probes.