Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma said on Monday that mining
companies were almost engaging in “blackmail” when they announce plans to close
mines and lay off workers.
Zuma's pre-recorded comments broadcast on CNBC Africa come
as the government, unions and the ANC have come out strongly against proposals
by Anglo Platinum [JSE:AMS] (Amplats) to mothball two mines and lay off 14 000 workers as
it strives to return to profit.
“When the miners say we are cutting down, we are closing...
You see, that is almost blackmail,” Zuma said.
Zuma also said “lower wages in the mining industry has led
us into trouble”.
South Africa's platinum and gold sectors were rocked last
year by violent strikes and labour violence that killed over 50 people and hit
Amplats, the world's top platinum producer, said on Monday
that it had made its first annual loss last year because of the strikes and
warned of growing labour unrest.
Zuma's remarks coincide with the Mining Indaba being held
this week in Cape Town.
Separately, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu told the
conference proposals by the ANC to introduce a “resource tax” would be
carried out with an intent to keep South Africa competitive among other major
“We’ve got to compete with Australia and Canada. So if there
are any taxes which must be implemented we must be mindful,” she said.
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