Cape Town - The ANC has strongly condemned Anglo Platinum's [JSE:AMS]
plans to cut 14 000 jobs as it restructures its strike-hit operations.
The platinum giant wanted to divert its business from South Africa and send the country's mining industry "to the dogs", the ANC said.
"This decision is cynical and dangerous in the
extreme," said ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu in a statement.
"The ANC condemns the action taken by Anglo American Platinum Limited who have exploited and then mercilessly created conditions to eliminate 14 000 jobs of which 13 000 are in the Rustenburg area," said spokesperson Jackson Mthembu.
"Amplats actively undermines the strategic plan of the
government to create jobs".
Mthembu said the exploitation of workers is a travesty and a
disgrace to the mining industry.
"Our country cannot continue to be the hosts of callous
extraction of minerals for the sole benefit of profits for external investors
with limited beneficiation to our own communities and in particular the
complete disregard for the plight of workers", said Mthembu.
The ANC called on the Minister of Minerals and Energy Susan
Shabangu to enter into an urgent meeting with mines wanting to shut
Govt shocked by jobs bloodbath
Shabangu said that the decision by Amplats came as a shock
and a surprise.
"It is regrettable that the company consulted with [my]
department less than seven days ago despite the major secio-economic
ramifications of its decision," Shabangu told reporters in Pretoria.
She said miners and their families would be hugely affected
by retrenchments as there tended to be minimal work in and around Rustenburg, which
will bear the brunt of the job cuts.
Shabangu said her department was approached by Amplats last
year to say it was facing problems and considered restructuring but the company
was told to discuss any such plans with the department first.
However, the company waited until seven days ago to do so,
Amplats overhaul not a reprisal
"This is not a reprisal, for example, against the
strikes at the end of last year. This process started at the beginning of 2012
and it was to address the fundamental and structural changes to our businesses
that have made our operations unprofitable," Anglo Platinum CEO Chris
Griffith said on a conference call.
"This is not a knee-jerk reaction to unions, this is not a
short-term response to an economy that may improve in a month or two's time.
The company has to take these drastic and significant actions to save the
company and the employment of an additional 45 000 people."
Labour reaction was swift, with an Amplats labour leader
threatening a strike across its South African operations if the indefinite
closures, when they would be put on "care and maintenance", go ahead.
"If they put any shaft on care and maintenance, all of
the operations will go on strike. Nothing like this will be allowed," said
Evans Ramogka, an Amplats labour leader.