The end of the Amplats strike marks a slowdown in the unrest in South Africa's mining industry, a dominant source of platinum, gold and chromium for the rest of the world.
Still, sporadic violence and arrests continued. On Thursday, police in Rustenburg arrested 23 miners who they said stoned police cars in front of a magistrate's court where there was a hearing for miners arrested earlier in the week at a violent protest at an Xstrata PLC mine nearby.
Meanwhile, strikes have hit South Africa's agriculture industry, another major part of its economy. On Wednesday, a protest turned violent as workers set fire to some farms, overturned a police truck and confronted officers in riot gear in the country's Western Cape. The police fired tear gas to drive away protesters, as gunshots could be heard in television footage.
At least one man was killed in the violence Wednesday and five others injured. On Thursday, police again confronted angry workers despite a claim by the government that a deal to delay the protests had been reached.Most of the striking farm workers come from the vineyards of South Africa, the world's eighth largest overall producer of wine. They are asking for an increase in the minimum day wage to 150 rand ($13), up from about 70 rand ($8). The strikes come as South Africa faces a slowing economy and high unemployment. The nation's credit rating also has been downgraded by two major agencies, leading opposition parties to criticize the governing African National Congress. Appearing before the country's parliament Thursday and facing hostile questions, President Jacob Zuma of the ANC at one point repeated three times: "This country is stable." "You go to all of the democracies in this world and there are strikes continuously," Zuma said. "It does not (mean) that there is instability. You go to Paris, you go to London, you go to everywhere, there are strikes, they are a feature of democracy."