PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has indirectly warned former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema that he may have to face the consequences of inciting striking miners.
Answering questions in the National Assembly yesterday, Zuma said he had spoken to some of his ministers about those fomenting tensions on the mines, saying such actions were unacceptable.
"There [are] activities that are not acceptable and as government we have been looking at them," he said.
"I have engaged with the ministers concerned to discuss how we deal with this issue, and very soon we will be able to let the public know."
In an apparent reference to Malema – who has been addressing disgruntled miners – Zuma said the government would soon act against those who were fuelling tensions on the mines.
"It can no longer be accepted. You know that it's not just the miners striking, it is also some people of some description who are going instigating miners to operate in a particular way.
"It cannot be accepted and therefore we are looking into that and we are going to be acting very soon," he said.
Malema has been criss-crossing Gauteng mines over the past two weeks, addressing unhappy miners.
He has urged them to remain steadfast in their demand for a R12500 monthly salary and advised them to go on a five-day national strike every month until their demands are met.
He has also called for workers at all South African mines to demand the resignation of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) leadership.
National leaders of the powerful Cosatu-affiliated union are known to support Zuma's bid for a second term in office, while Malema wants him replaced at the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung in December.
Events at the Lonmin mine in Marikana, coupled with the firebrand former youth leader's actions, have left mine bosses, international investors and senior figures in the ANC and in government alarmed over the state of a key economic sector.
There are already murmurs from some within the ruling party to have Malema charged with incitement.
The issue is expected to top discussions at the ANC's national executive committee meeting, which starts this morning.
Malema has also irked the state's security machinery by addressing about 40 of the 1000 soldiers who have been suspended for taking part in a protest action outside the Union Buildings in 2009 which turned violent.
All army bases were placed on high alert when it was learnt that he was planning to address the soldiers.
An army spokesman said the address was being viewed by the army as incitement, which was a criminal offence.
Earlier, COPE MP Papi Kganare described Malema as an "uncontrollable Polokwane political Frankenstein" created by Zuma.
But Zuma denied he was responsible for Malema's behaviour.
"I shouldn't be blamed for somebody who has some characteristic of his own.
"It's not my fault. I never participated in the production of such a person," he said.
Meanwhile, Zuma has rejected a proposal by DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko that labour laws be amended to allow smaller unions to directly represent their members during wage negotiations, instead of them being represented by larger, rival unions.
In terms of the existing labour laws, a union is only allowed to bargain when it represents a certain percentage of workers.
This has fuelled tensions at the Marikana mine where rival union Amcu is unhappy at not being allowed to represent its workers during wage negotiations.
Zuma said the majority prevailed in a democracy. He angered those on the opposition benches when he compared the ANC and the DA to explain why smaller unions could not have the same status as bigger unions.
"We [ANC] have more rights here because we are a majority. You [DA] have lesser rights because you are a minority," he said.