South African president Jacob Zuma has promised that the government will not be subjective and will talk to both sides to find an amicable solution to the platinum strike, now in its sixth week.

This comes after talks between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum (Implats) and Lonmin were postponed indefinitely a week ago. The union has been demanding a basic monthly pay increase from about R5 000 to R12 500, more than double the current rate.

Mediators have said that the parties remain far apart, despite the estimated R3 billion loss in wages for employees and R7.8 billion revenue loss for companies since the labour group members downed tools on January 23.

On Thursday, Amcu members marched on government offices in Pretoria, vowing not to back down from its demand while submitting a memorandum at the Union Buildings. The document calls for the resignation of Mines Minister Susan Shabangu and a revision of the offer by the mining houses. Despite changing its demand slightly to give the industry three years to meet its demand, platinum bosses insist that the demand remains unaffordable.

The strike has had a devastating effect on the country’s platinum sector, with Lonmin revealing that it will not reach its full-year sales target of at least 750 000 ounces of platinum. Impala declined for the first time in five days in Johannesburg, losing 0.43 percent to R116.50. Amplats dropped 1.53 percent to R449.69. Lonmin slid 2.06 percent to R53.13.