A top South African official is appealing for stability and dialogue ahead of a planned strike this week by tens of thousands of workers at platinum and gold mines.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said at a labor conference Wednesday that relations between workers and employers will only get worse if the two sides "dig in their heels." Motlanthe says the government will act decisively to enforce law and order.

In 2012, police shot and killed several dozen miners during labor unrest at a Lonmin platinum mine.

The strike for higher wages is set to begin Thursday and could affect more than half of platinum production in South Africa, the world's leading producer. It is expected to disrupt operations of mines owned by Lonmin, Anglo American and Impala.