South Africa's Chamber of Mines, unions sign peace pact

Worker unions and businesses in South Africa have signed a breakthrough government-backed peace pact to end violence in the country's mining sector.

However, the compromise was reached with a key union - the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) - abstaining.

The parties have committed to working together to "ensure stability and sustainability of the mining sector for the future of South Africa's economy".

A statement issued by South Africa's presidency added that, "All parties agree that it is important to ensure that peace and stability prevail and that human beings and property are protected so as to create an environment conducive to development.

"Government will act decisively to enforce the rule of law, maintain peace during strikes and other protests relating to labour disputes, ensure protection of life, property and the advancement of the rights of all."

South Africa's Chamber of Mines, Fedusa and Cosatu, and mining minister Susan Shabangu signed the accord – the Framework Agreement for a Sustainable Mining Industry.

South African has been plagued by deadly unrest in its mining sector and it has rocked the platinum belt, which is responsible for 80 percent of the world's production. Gold mines have also been hard hit.

A power struggle between the upstart AMCU and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has fuelled a lot of the unrest.

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