The striking workers are demanding higher wages

A week ago, 34 miners died when police opened fire at the Lonmin-owned mine, where workers were on strike to demand higher pay.

Previously 10 people, two of them police officers, had died in violent clashes.

The mine has been closed as a result of the unrest.

Politicians, religious leaders, workers and members of the local community are attending a memorial service at a church near the mine to commemorate all those who have died in the violence.

Among those attending the service, at the Nkangeng Informal Settlement, are the head of President Jacob Zuma?s office, Collins Chabane.

Early on Thursday, a traditional prayer service was held to ritually cleanse the spot where the 34 strikers were shot dead by police.

Visiting the mine on Wednesday, Mr. Zuma told workers he ?felt their pain? and promised a thorough investigation of the shootings.

But correspondents say the mood at the meeting was subdued, and did not feature the cheering and ululating that usually greets the president.

Some of those present chanted ?down with the police.?

Religious leaders have brokered talks between the Lonmin management and workers in an attempt to break the deadlock in the dispute over pay.

On Tuesday, Lonmin dropped its threat to fire workers if they failed to end their strike after many workers ignored the ultimatum. The company says the strike is illegal.

Police said they opened fire last week because strikers wielding machetes and clubs had refused to lay down their weapons.

The striking miners say they are currently earning between 4,000 and 5,000 rand (?305-?382: $486-$608) a month and want their salary increased to 12,500 rand.

The company says most workers are paid about 10,500 rand, if bonuses are added.

Industrial conflict over pay appeared to be spreading to other mines in South Africa on Wednesday, with about 600 workers at the nearby Royal Bafokeng Platinum Mine also going on a strike to demand higher wages.?BBC

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