One of the country's largest mining companies Sibanye-Stillwater banned its workers from entering its gold mining operations on Thursday evening.
The decision came after Sibanye and labour unions reached a deadlock during wage negotiations.
The company made the announcement on Thursday, saying it has given notice to the coalition of unions, including the four representative unions at its SA gold operations: the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity and UASA.
Employees providing priority services would not be impacted.
The company said though it had told workers to stop reporting to work from Wednesday at 6pm, the lockout would only kick in at 10pm on Thursday and the principle of no work, no pay would also kick in against affected workers.
"The lockout will affect all employees who form part of the bargaining unit which include category 4-8 employees and miners, artisans and officials belonging to the aforementioned unions.
The lockout will remain in place until the final wage offer which was tabled on 4 February 2022 is accepted by the unions that represent the majority of employees in the bargaining unit," said the company in a media statement.
The lockout comes after workers affiliated to Amcu and NUM on Wednesday embarked on an indefinite strike at the mine.
Sibanye said it had done its best to reach a wage agreement that was fair, took into account inflationary increases and ensured the sustainability of the SA gold operations.
"Although the company has made multiple moves within the positional bargaining negotiations, the union coalition hasn’t moved materiality from their initial demands and therefore the parties remain in deadlock," said Sibanye.
"The lockout is in the interest of achieving a resolution to the proposed strike action and mitigating the negative impact of this on all stakeholders, including employees."