South African police on Friday recovered the body of a miner killed in clashes with striking workers at a leading platinum mine, as President Jacob Zuma appealed for an end to months of often violent industrial disputes.
Miners said the man was killed late Thursday when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a group of illegal strikers from an Anglo American-owned mine in the northern town of Rustenburg.
"The cops shot many people," Gaddhafi Mdoda, a witness and workers' activist told AFP. "One of them is dead."
Circumstances surrounding the killing in the northwestern town of Rustenburg remain unclear, but police spokesman Thulani Ngubane said the authorities have begun their investigation.
"The body has been recovered, the police forensics are working on scene as we speak to check what could be the preliminary cause of the death," said Ngubane. "The situation is tense."
Colleagues said the man, who has not been officially identified, was from the rural Eastern Cape and had been working at the Bleskop shaft, one of several at the sprawling complex.
Some 28,000 workers have been on a strike at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), the world's top platinum producer, since September 12 demanding higher wages.
Despite tensions, both sides seemed keen to avoid further provocation early Friday.
Around 300 miners gathered outside a nearby stadium to voice their protest while police in armoured vehicles looked on from a distance.
Still, workers remained resolute in their demands and gave no indication their strikes would end.
"We are only waiting for the money," said Mikael Rafuza, a 54-year-old who has worked at the mine for more than a decade and is demanding a wage of 16,070 rand ($1,300, 1,450 euro) a month. "I don't go to work before."
With around 100,000 workers currently on strike across the country, President Zuma -- who has publically kept his distance from the crisis -- called for the work stoppages to end.
Speaking to business leaders in Johannesburg, he warned the strikes would hurt South Africa's ability to attract more investment and grow.
"We should not seek to portray ourselves as a nation that is perpetually fighting."
He added that business and labour needed "to ensure shop floor peace and stability in the country, in order for us to continue the collective responsibility of promoting economic growth and development."
"We wish the parties well as they negotiate to solve both the mining and truck driver strikes."
The South African rand sank against the dollar on news of renewed violence.
The crisis began two months ago with a deadly wildcat work stoppage by 28,000 miners at a Lonmin platinum mine in August.
The strike ended with an up to 22 percent pay rise, but not before 46 people had died.
The pay rises have emboldened other workers in the strike-prone country.
Since then strikes have been spreading from platinum to gold mining and other sectors.
Analysts have warned that the strikers' demands will result in job losses in the country where one in every four employable people is out of a job.
On Thursday, major gold miners and unions agreed to review wages and pay grades for entry-level workers.