Wires

UPDATE 1-S.African strikers press Amplats to revoke sackings

* Hundreds hold rally at platinum belt stadium

* Strikes raise worries about government finances

* Wildcat strikers sacked at Bokoni mine

(Adds quote and sackings at Bokoni mine)

By Jon Herskovitz

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Hundreds of striking SouthAfrican workers rallied on Saturday to press Anglo AmericanPlatinum to revoke its decision to fire 12,000 wildcat strikersamid a wave of labour strife sweeping Africa's largest economy.

Nearly 50 people have been killed since August in labourconflict in the crucial mining sector, and President JacobZuma's ruling ANC is struggling to damp down some of the worstsocial unrest since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Several hundred workers, watched closely by police, held arally in a soccer stadium near the platinum belt hub city ofRustenburg, 120 km (70 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, andwere urged to fight for their jobs.

"Ignore those SMS's you've received saying you have beendismissed," one labour leader was quoted as saying by radiobroadcaster Eyewitness News.

The sackings at Amplats (Anglo American Platinum)on Friday triggered a 4 percent fall to 3-1/2 year lows in SouthAfrica's rand as investors dumped the country's assets.

"It just isn't fair. The company pays me little and I haveworked here for years," one of the sacked miners, who asked notto be named, told Reuters by phone.

In a related move, Atlatsa Resources has sacked someof the 2,500 workers who went on a wildcat strike this week atits Bokoni platinum mine in South Africa, a company officialsaid on Saturday.

Bokoni, a joint venture with Anglo American Platinum, is torelease more details of the move on Monday. Workers have twodays to appeal the decision.

Each miner supports on average about 8 to 10 people, oftenliving in abject poverty, according to industry data. Thesackings could cut off income to more than 100,000 people.

Wage increases of up to 22 percent awarded to end a wildcatstrike at Lonmin's platinum mine last month have ledother workers to strike at other mines, car makers and municipalgovernments.

Zuma tried to reassure investors by saying this week thatsince the end of white-minority rule South Africans have shown"the capacity to overcome difficulties when we work together".

With an ANC leadership run-off looming in December, NelsonMandela's 100-year-old liberation movement is preoccupied withits own divisions. Zuma is seen as unlikely to take any actionthat could upset his political allies in the unions.

In a move that helped relieve tensions, several hundredstriking miners have ended a three-day work stoppage at theSouth African operations of Petra Diamonds .

"There was no deal. They just agreed to return to work,"Lesiba Seshoka, spokesman for the powerful National Union ofMineworkers, told Reuters.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; editing by Andrew Roche)

((jon.herskovitz@thomsonreuters.com)(+27 11 775-3142)(ReutersMessaging: jon.herskovitz@thomsonreuters.com))

Keywords: SAFRICA STRIKES/