South African police raided worker hostels Saturday at Lonmin's strike-hit Marikana platinum mine, seizing traditional weapons and bringing the number of arrests to 12 since a crackdown was launched on mine unrest.
"Five hundred members (officers) intervened at 2:00 am (1200 GMT) in an area with hostels where about 600 miners are residing around Marikana. We took pangas (machetes) and (other) dangerous weapons," regional police spokesman Thulani Ngubane told AFP, adding that police had made 12 arrests.
An AFP photographer on the scene in Marikana, where police shot dead 34 protesters last month, said dozens of armoured vehicles were there and that police were armed.
The strikes have spilled over to mines across the Rustenburg platinum belt from the bitter wage battle at world number three platinum producer Lonmin, whose Marikana operation has been crippled since a wildcat strike started last month and exploded into violence that has killed 45 people in all.
The government Friday announced a security crackdown on illegal gatherings, illegal weapons, incitement and threats of violence that have hit the area and forced mines to suspend operations.
"The aim of the operation was to make sure that we disarm and to ensure that we reclaim Marikana and we restore peace and stability in the area of Marikana," said Ngubane of the early morning raid.
"They continue to murder and kill people with the very dangerous weapons that they carry on a daily basis."
Five workers were arrested for dealing in drugs, found after they were disarmed, police said.
Seven protesters were arrested at an Aquarius Platinum Limited mine on Friday shortly after the clampdown was announced.
On Friday, the growing protests and tensions forced the world's number four platinum producer Aquarius Platinum and top ferrochrome company Xstrata to each halt operations at mines in the Rustenburg area.
The world's top platinum producer Anglo American Platinum has also closed five of its mines over safety fears after intimidation and threats of violence on staff trying to go to work.