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South Africa police and miners clash again

South African police have fired rubber bullets and tear gas at around 1,000 protesting miners, after a power sub-station was set on fire. The miners had declined an offer to return to work made last weekend.

The clashes between police and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) miners occurred in northwestern Rustenburg, with the workers defying an ultimatum to reclaim their jobs.

The offer was made to 12,000 Amplats workers who were sacked earlier this month for going on strike, after they demanded a pay rise. They had been given the option of returning to work on Tuesday.

It's believed the workers blocked roads after setting fire to a power sub-station at the mine.

"Police had to use teargas, stun grenades and rubber bullets to clear the crowd," according to police spokesperson Dennis Adriao, quoted by the South African Press Association (SANA).

Adriato said the 1,000 protesting miners formed a barricade to prevent police from entering.

Some striking workers say they won't be persuaded to return to their jobs until wage demands are addressed.

"Workers are very interested in going back to work as long as management is prepared to put something on the table," said workers representative Siphamandla Makhanya. The miners had been demanding a minimum of 16,000 rand (1428 euros, $1847) a month but Makhanya indicated they may be prepared to negotiate this figure.

Several South African mines across different sectors have been engulfed in work-stoppages, protests and violence, since a strike by workers at the Lonmin mine in August spread across the industry.

Police shot dead 34 of the protesting workers at Lonmin, which was the bloodiest episode of violence since the end of Apartheid.

jr/jlw (AFP, dpa)