President Jacob Zuma must intervene to stop the ongoing unrest in South Africa's mines, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) said on Thursday.
Addressing reporters at a resort in Rustenburg, Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said Zuma had to convene an urgent, all-inclusive mining indaba to review the situation in the embattled sector.
"We make a clarion call to the President of the Republic of South Africa to call a mining indaba on the state of the mining industry.
"The truth is, the mining sector is the biggest contributor to the South African economy, yet it is the worst when it comes to paying workers and improving working conditions," he said.
Mathunjwa said the indaba would have to deal with issues including minimum wages, housing, skills development and a mining victims fund for the sector.
He said Amcu had repeatedly denounced all the violent activity recently seen around the mines.
Amcu national treasurer Jimmy Gama said that rectifying the situation in the mining sector lay with Zuma.
"This seems to be an emergency situation where nobody seems to be winning the battle. In a country, the only person with power to summon everyone is the president, hence Amcu is taking [the] initiative to request the president to deal with the matter," he said.
Earlier, freelance journalists were told to leave the venue where Amcu was holding its 'state of the mining industry' media briefing.
Before the briefing started, all journalists in the room were asked to introduce themselves and the media organisations for which they worked.
Gama, sitting next to Mathunjwa, told a cameraman who introduced himself as "a freelancer" to leave the premises because invites had been sent to media houses.
"We are not comfortable with a person who comes as a freelancer, because we haven't invited you. We would like you, sir, to excuse us," said Gama.
Two other journalists joined the cameraman as he walked out of the room.
Mathunjwa later said an Amcu media briefing at Melrose Arch, in Johannesburg, had once been "infiltrated by other [rival] unions".