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NUM has revised its wage demand to 10% ahead of the gold sector strike that began on Tuesday night, writes Vicky Sidler.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has drastically cut its wage demand from 60% to 10% since the commencement of the strike. The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry has offered a 6.5% increase, stating that mining companies will not be able to afford anything higher.

President Jacob Zuma appealed to NUM on Tuesday, ahead of the strike, saying “A strike hurts both sides. They must find a solution.”

“If indeed we are going to have a protracted industrial action, it will impact negatively on the economy,” agreed Mining Minister Susan Shabangu. “We will engage the parties if there is a need for government to intervene.”

Last year, the mining strike set South Africa back by a crippling R6 billion in terms of tax revenue, and the chamber’s Michael Bagraim predicts that the current strike will exceed R10 billion if it continues for more than two weeks.

Charmane Russell, a spokeswoman for gold producers grouped in the Chamber of Mines has confirmed that the strike is officially underway, but could only report on its full extent later today.

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