South Africa's powerful mineworkers union warned Wednesday that a breakthrough deal to end a deadly illegal strike at a platinum mine set a dangerous precedent by rewarding anarchy.
The National Union of Mineworkers, the country's largest trade union, has come under attack from miners who have turned to a rival labour grouping or chosen to go it alone in a recent spike of troubles.
"The normal bargaining processes have been compromised. It does suggest that unprotected action, an element of anarchy, can be easily rewarded," Frans Baleni, general secretary at the NUM, told Talk Radio 702's Eyewitness News.
"People can do certain wrong things with impunity and that means that it can roll over to other operations because they said 'they did it, we can do it'."
Workers at Lonmin sealed a wage hike deal late Tuesday that won increases of up to 22 percent after a nearly six-week stand-off killed 45 people and spread to other mines which form the backbone of the country's economy.
The deal was brokered in talks that included worker representatives acting outside of the recognised unions.
The strike also turned mines into a political battlefield, with President Jacob Zuma's rivals mounting fresh attacks ahead of a key leadership in the ruling African National Congress.
The NUM is part of the Cosatu labour grouping which is a key ANC ally.
Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini on Monday warned that the onslaught on NUM, which has 310,000 members, was also an attack on the labour federation's allies in the ruling ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP).
"The attack on NUM is a gateway to weakening Cosatu. The attack on NUM is an attack to Cosatu, the SACP and the ANC," he told the federation's congress.
Striking miners celebrate after securing a 22% pay rise from the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana. South Africa's powerful mineworkers union has warned that a breakthrough deal to end a deadly illegal strike at a platinum mine set a dangerous precedent by rewarding anarchy.