Johannesburg - The South African mining industry needs to
achieve transformation goals faster to achieve authenticity, Mineral Resources
Minister Susan Shabangu said in Johannesburg on Monday.
"I cannot emphasise enough that unless the mining
industry can claim its legitimacy to all its stakeholders, namely investor(s),
workers, host communities, host government, etc, it cannot claim its
authenticity," she said in a speech prepared for delivery at a New Age
business breakfast in Sandton.
In South Africa, those involved in the mining sector had
worked hard to keep the industry competitive while implementing transformation
measures, but areas of concern remained.
These concerns needed to be addressed to root out historic
Shabangu made reference to the recent violent confrontations
at Lonmin's Marikana mine, where police killed 34 people and wounded 78 in a
clash on August 16.
"Whilst we acknowledge the significance of the Marikana
ordeal, it is apt for the industry to have a conversation about the
underpinnings of such a problem, anticipate other potential challenges, and
recommend a concrete plan of action that will ensure responsible action from
She said there was a need for greater attention to health
and safety matters, particularly in gold and platinum operations.
The migrant labour system remained entrenched in the
industry, which resulted in the workers leading "dual lives" and the
areas where they came from usually did not benefit.
Large wage disparities prevalent in the sector were also of
concern, she said.
"To what extent is this likely to threaten not only the
very democratic gains of the past 18 years, but sustainability of the very
mining industry in South Africa?"
Shabangu said the government was working on a "one-stop
shop" approach to licensing requirements for mining, to correct the
fragmented approach now in use.
"We need to build a mining industry that cares, a
mining industry that is proud to be part of the transformation agenda of South
Africa, because transformation is... not just a compliance issue."
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