Motlanthe: Migrant labour must go

2012-11-07 21:20

Parliament - The migrant labour system on many South African mines should be done away with, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Wednesday.

The underlying social determinant of the ongoing unrest on mines, beginning with the tragedy at Marikana, was no doubt the migrant labour system itself, he told the National Assembly during question time.

"And if there is one good thing that must result out of this whole painful saga, it is the elimination of the migrant labour system. And I believe it is possible to eliminate it," he said.

First and foremost, the mining companies should allow workers to return to their homes elsewhere more often.

The parties concerned needed to determine the details between themselves, but for example, workers could work for four weeks and then have two weeks off to go home.

This would ensure the "notion of [where] home [is] should be clear to all".

Currently, with the migrant labour system, workers were separated from their families and loved ones for 12 months at a time and only went home at the end of the year for a week or two.

"That should be happening at regular intervals of not more than five or six weeks of absence," he said.

At the same time, the government would have to ensure the workers' home areas were provided with basic infrastructure and proper amenities.

Motlanthe said the migrant labour system had contributed to deepening rural poverty and had had dire consequences for the dependants of the migrant workers, notably women and children.

Some of the consequences include broken families, limited access to education for children and lack of work opportunities for women, who often were solely dependent on remittances from men working in towns and cities.

  • lvmashamba - 2012-11-07 21:55

    Stp teling us ovius stories and teL us if u are available or nT 4 nominations do u want 2 b de president or nt

  • petrus.vanderwalt.75 - 2012-11-07 21:59

    Every second month get paid for one and a half month,without striking?

  • Strikeback - 2012-11-07 22:06

    Work for four weeks with two weeks off. This would mean more than 3 months off per anum. Attendance of 66%. Less strike time, less public holidays. Mmm, Strikeback think you should stick to politics. Maths is clearly not your strong point. Migrant workers choose to seek employment at our mines and are succesful because local people practice politics while they should work.

      strikeback.strikeback - 2012-11-08 06:45

      Dear Sir, a lot of people are under the impression that an employer is also a father figure. Why should migrant workers be treated differently than local workers? Workers from the area stay at their homes and support their families. Mines are businesses and not social institutions. The more responsibilities we load on employers - the less employment opportunities they can create. The mines should not be held responsible for the social well being of employees. That is the responsibility of Government.

  • fritz.koopman - 2012-11-07 22:43

    Mothlanthe the lier, at his best. Lied to the high court a few years back, and nothing ever came of his promises. now we shoul vote you in power? I would rather vote for Malema who steals openly.

  • Erna - 2012-11-07 22:45

    It's not the mines' fault that men can't find work closer to home. Usually people who get work far from home bring their families with them, but not this lot. They just start another family. And working 4 weeks and go home for 2 weeks! I can just see the mine bosses going for that one. Always thought that Motlanthe would make better president, but not so sure now.

      Erna - 2012-11-08 05:08

      I'm not comparing mine bosses and mine workers just like I'm not comparing my circumstances to my bosses'. But I don't choose to work thousands of miles from my home and family - they do. And if they weren't working for the mine would they even have work - and whose fault would that be - the mines? They don't have to live in hostels - their 2nd family doesn't. Don't blame everything on the mines - no matter how much the miners get paid, they don't change their circumstances.

      Davincy505 - 2012-11-08 07:54

      I'm not sure if you know the mine industry. I will be best if you leave this to those who understand mining industry

      alastair.newman.52 - 2012-11-08 08:18

      @Erna In most circumstances, migrant workers go to the mines because there is no opportunity to earn a living in their home areas. That has been a fact of life for years. Migrant Labour Policy has caused a massive amount of social disruption over the past 100 years and there has been very little change in policy. Motlanthe's proposal is a breath of fresh air, coming from a politician. What he is proposing was first mooted in 1947! In those days Apartheid was just getting into it's stride and societies were very different then. The whole landscape has changed to make his proposals very workable indeed.

  • zolisa.dlokovu - 2012-11-07 22:54

    I agree Mr kgalema Motlanthe

      susanna.smit.7 - 2012-11-08 06:48

      Positives Well rested workers. More job opportunities as more people will have to be placed into circulation. Negatives A lot of extra administration Questions Will the workers be required to work extra hours every day, since they will have more rest and motivation? Who will pay the transport to and from home, or will it be a shared expense (workers paying to get to work and the mines paying to get them home)? How will this affect the pay structure, since paid holidays may not be feasible for the mines? Why not run the mines like cruise ships operate? Guests are treated like gold on cruise ships, here the workers will work with the real thing!

  • Nkosinathi.Sibbs - 2012-11-07 23:08

    Xenophobia or Afrophobia vice president

      mshiniboys - 2012-11-08 02:24

      Read and understand, by migrant worker he means people who work so far away from home yet given too much time and money to go home such that they have to stay away from home for the whole year without seeing their loved ones.not foreigners and not only africans.

  • mshiniboys - 2012-11-08 02:36

    Mr Motlante you are speaking the truth that should have been spoken immediately when the ANC took over govenment but there has never been an educated enough person to realise fact that is where you start when you want to create peaceful and well empowered society.But this statement once again exposes the ANC as a party that has failed to run govenment that builds families thus exposing everyone to an unsafe country to live in by not creating jobs that are nearer to peoples homes.there was a big mistake in turning govenment owned companies into parastatals first and foremost.unless govenment creates jobs we have to live with these things you know.

  • Matome Reginald Sabbath - 2012-11-08 06:03

    True Mr President you are 1 of the best kind of a person who can think for the nation, that's why all the youth in SA that are educated are 100% behind you to lead this beautiful nation of ours...

  • siphiwevusi.mabika - 2012-11-08 06:56

    Motlanthe making useless comments, he fear to Chalenge Zuma for president, now I realising that Motlanthe has fear in taking decisions that will help the country forward.\r\nWhen ever you come forward in last minutes to Chalenge Zuma, I won't vote you, you are a coward. I don't wanna here any thing frm you!

      sikanyiso.tonise - 2012-11-08 09:17

      I can understand your fustration my brother, it doesn't only bothers you I think many people are affected. However his silence will help because a number of delegates many of them from Num will be sympathetic with him as he is not associated with any wrongdoing including the political slates that have become fashionable in the ANC of today. Delegates will not adhere to self-made agenda by provincial leaders. Branches know who is the right candidate at this crucial time and Kgalema Montlante fits that calibre. If we extend the term of those who have already displayed greed, personal enrichmentthis country will soon follow other poor African states whose Dispots have accumulated wealth through tax payers coffers. We need a whole sale change in the ANC come Mangaung.

  • Mike Woolnough - 2012-11-08 07:00

    All well and good to suggest they go home often but out labour laws as they stand prohibit this. I employ people in the metal industry and the labour laws in our sector state that leave must be given in a single block once a year. This is what NUMSA demanded and got. The unions are to blame for some of these unfair labour practices

  • erns.kleynhans.3 - 2012-11-08 07:03

    The problem is that local labour is lazy. You need 3 people to get 1 persons worth of productivity. For example: a local that provided gardening services to me regularly just sat down doing nothing, but getting paid. I got a guy from Mozambique, who had a trailer with his own lawnmower, weed eater and tools who did my garden in 3 hours much better than the local could in a full day. The result was that the Mozambique guy did 3 gardens a day... like a mini gardening service.

      Davincy505 - 2012-11-08 08:19

      You can expect good result on a bad payments but foreigners do. That why to day we still have under paying companies is because of this people. At their countries yes you can survive with that money but not in South Africa.

  • emmanuel.bhekabantu - 2012-11-08 07:03

    he is the man

  • alan.stewart.35728 - 2012-11-08 07:39

    I can agree with some of Mr Motlanthe sentiments every one should have a enough home time to enable family values to flourish, the practicalities however are not so easy to accomplish. Firstly the employer cannot be held responsible for what an employee does with his or her salary, They cannot be held responsible for the welfare of the employers family or home, the hostel enviroment is not ideal and it is difficult to keep the tribal factions from fighting, hence the mines like to recruit from specific areas, hence migrant labour, Do they have to migrate and work on the mines, NO, of course not, but then there is probably no work in the area they live in so the Mines are a viable option to suport themselves and their families. What it boils down to is that Mining is a business you can choose to work there or not, they are not a social welfare organisation, marriage councillers. There job is to make a profit for the people that invest huge sums of money into them, they have a responsibility to pay a fair days wage for a fair days work, in the Hostel they have a responsibility to maintain order, supply suitable accomodation and meals. The bottom line is that if the mine does not make a fair contribution to the stake holders, i.e. investors they will take their money elsewhere and the mine will stop functioning, simple fact. Some moron is going to say the Government will take over, Yes , We have seen that already incompetent at best

      alastair.newman.52 - 2012-11-08 08:47

      @Alan The main issue is this. "If an industry can only exist in a situation where people remain disadvantaged, it is unsustainable" The mining industsry in South Africa has been based on a CHEAP LABOUR POLICY. This was initially made possible by the rural nature of it's workforce. Apartheid attempted to retain this rural nature in order to keep the SA mining industry alive. That didn't work. The benefit of Motlanthe's proposal is that it will alleviate the social and economic problem created by the current migrant labour policy - which in turn will (hopefully) reduce the call for nationalisation. We have to take a bigger view and concede that rural comunities have subsidised the mining industry for too long. Their subsidy has been so large, in fact, that they have a massive amount of moral authority to claim a share in the mining industry. And that share, currently, is being called nationalisation. Motlanthe is attempting to find the middle ground between business and society. It's worth a look - because we haven't got an alternative!

  • erns.kleynhans.3 - 2012-11-08 07:54

    Local labour want a day's wage for a 1/2 day of work. I've seen these migrants... they can work and they are (most of the time) much more committed than locals. Pay them more and lift your productivity.

  • blackmistawhite.whitemistablack - 2012-11-08 07:59

    I had hope for montlathe, but dump statements like these dont maketh a president but an empty noisy symbal, quite like gwede...shut up if you are not well versed in the labour law and origions of the practise..

  • apgreeff - 2012-11-08 08:36

    Oh goodness, where am I missing the plot? These workers complain that they do not earn enough to buy food but now they have to take leave every six weeks! 'Migrant labour must go' is the headline but it is not suggested that they go, they only have to take 6 weekly holidays. If I decide to render my services and expertise in Zambia (or anywhere else in the world) I would surely not take my family along untill such time that I know it is safe, stable and sustainable. Why does this apply to tyhe migrant labour? Surely this is not rocket science stuff.....

  • peter.jefferies.90 - 2012-11-08 08:37

    "but for example, workers could work for four weeks and then have two weeks off to go home." If this is the case I want to work on a mine!!!! They are soon going to earn more then 80% of the country and have a 2 week Holiday every 4 weeks!! South Africa really needs to up its work ethic! It is the main reason companies go out of their way to try and employ non-south africans into their work force.

  • willem.d.jager - 2012-11-08 08:48

    Couldn't mining towns be created with schools and hospitals so families could live together within commuting distance of the mines? Surely mines are long term operations, not? South Africa could become a world leader in low impact human settlements. Everything could be powered by renewable energy in these towns. Fresh, clean, modern, low impact towns. On the other hand, there are non-miners too who have to work further afield, who only see their families once a year and no one feels sorry for them. They just kind of take it in their stride.

  • pieter.pretorius.106 - 2012-11-08 08:52

    Did the mines forced the workers to work far from home? or was it their own choice? It is freedom of choice, the worker can choose to work closer at home if he wants to.

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