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Renewed focus on mining sector

Feb 12 2015 21:45
Carin Smith

Cape Town - In his June 2014 State of the Nation address (Sona), President Jacob Zuma spoke about the need to stabilise the mining sector and to promote a stable labour environment.

He raised the issue again in his State of the Nation address on Thursday.

"We had been concerned then, about the spate of long and sometimes violent strikes. The implementation of a number of programmes under the Framework Agreement for a Sustainable Mining Industry, has caused relative stability and optimism in the mining sector, which is the backbone of our economy," Zuma said in his State of the Nation address on Thursday.

Mine Crime Combating Forums have been established in the North West, Limpopo, Free State, Mpumalanga, and Gauteng provinces.

Zuma said government will implement the agreements reached with business and labour, including the consideration of a national minimum wage.

"We had also made a commitment in last year's Sona to revitalise distressed mining towns and a lot of progress has been made," he said.

READ: Zuma announces end to foreign land ownership

A total of R2.1bn has been ring-fenced for this purpose with R290m approved for informal settlement upgrading in Mpumalanga, North West, Gauteng, Northern Cape, Limpopo and the Free State.

One hundred and thirty three informal settlements are being assessed or prepared for upgrading through the National Upgrade Support Programme.

Thirty two settlements are being upgraded and 87 housing projects are being implemented across the prioritised mining towns.

"Importantly, government, the mining sector and the Banking Association of South Africa signed a Social Contract for the development of sustainable human settlements. Government also continues to provide social development support within mining communities," said Zuma.

Other support includes technical expertise with regards to Integrated Development Plans and the development of special economic zones.

READ: Zuma praises manufacturing industry

"The mining towns are also being assisted with implementing the 'Back to Basics' municipal service delivery strategy. Indeed a lot is being done to build our mining towns," said Zuma.

Government is also reviewing the compliance of mining companies with the 2014 Mining Charter targets.

"I referred the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act back parliament to enable the correction of some constitutional shortcomings and others issues," said Zuma.

ALSO READ: Zuma vows clampdown on jobs agencies, temporary work

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