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Ramaphosa: Take heed of workers' needs

Jan 10 2013 09:08 Fin24

Cyril Ramaphosa (Picture: Sapa)

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Cape Town - Newly elected ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has called on businesses to take better care of their employees, a report said on Thursday. 

Speaking at an ANC business breakfast in Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal, Ramaphosa said the Marikana tragedy, where 34 striking miners were shot dead by police, should be a wake-up call to businesses. 

"Very much of what went wrong at Marikana was because mining companies closed their eyes to being inclusive," said Ramaphosa a director at platinum mining group Lonmin [JSE:LON], according to TimesLive

Ramaphosa said mining companies need to be more aware of the living conditions of their employees. 

"Where we were not doing anything actively about improving the living conditions of workers, [businesses] should go back to the drawing board and ask themselves: 'What is it that we can do to make sure that we improve the livelihoods and the living conditions of the people'?" he was quoted as saying. 

It appeared Ramaphosa was trying to project himself as a caring pro-poor leader rather than a shrewd, out of touch businessman, the report said. 

Ramaphosa came under fire when his private emails to Lonmin managers were made public. In the emails he proposed that firm action be taken against striking miners. 

In an interview with CNN's Christine Amanpour on Tuesday, Ramaphosa defended his actions, saying: "I was appealing to the authorities to take action, to make sure that we prevent further death...

"A long part of my life was spent serving mine workers. And there is just no way I could ever have said that mine workers should be killed. There is just no way. It is - it just defies any logic in me," said Ramaphosa. 

Ramaphosa is noted as a charismatic orator who helped to build the National Union of Mineworkers, of which he was secretary general in the 1980s, into a major political force.  

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lonmin  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  mining


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