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DA wants laws changed after Lonmin

Aug 23 2012 16:27 Sapa

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Cape Town - The DA on Thursday proposed a slew of policy and legislative reforms to guard against more Marikana-type violence.

At a press briefing in Parliament, MPs Diane Kohler-Barnard, Sej Motau and James Lorimer said reform required urgent government action.

"To put an end to violent protests, we have to find the political will to adopt some of the proposed amendments to the Labour Relations Act currently before Parliament and consider further interventions to even out the playing field in terms of labour representations," Motau said.

This included amending section 64 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) to enable unionised workers to vote (by secret ballot) to approve a strike, before a union can go ahead with industrial action.

Motau called on the government to put an end to the Congress of SA Trade Unions's (Cosatu) monopoly on labour bargaining.

"It is time for the labour minister to shake the yoke of a labour dispensation dictated by Cosatu. The labour landscape is changing and the labour regime should remain relevant for present day realities," Motau said.

Kohler-Barnard blamed the militarisation of the police for the loss of life at Marikana.

"The military is there to combat the enemy. The militarisation of the police service has led to the police starting to behave like the military."

She said a lack of police training was also a contributing factor. This needed to be fixed urgently due to the growing number of protests across the country, and the complex nature of the demonstrations.

"The SAPS must interrogate the myriad challenges created by increased crowd violence in South Africa and work to create a new balance to public order policing," she said.

Lorimer called for a structural shift in the mining industry.

"Firstly, the government must recognise its culpability in creating a level of policy uncertainty that discourages investment, undermines profitability and ultimately erodes the capacity of the mining industry to create and sustain decent work."

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lonmin  |  protests  |  lonmin unrest
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