SA can't afford another Marikana

2012-11-14 15:40

Pretoria - South Africa cannot afford another Marikana, as the shooting has created a plethora of problems for the economy, a legal expert said on Wednesday.

"The effect of Marikana on the economy has been devastating. Its cost on the economy is estimated at over R10bn in lost production," said Peter Leon, a partner at law firm Webber Wentzel.

"The GDP (gross domestic product) growth is estimated this year at only two percent. We are actually moving backwards. We cannot afford another Marikana."

He called for more interventions to prevent a repeat of the August 16 shooting at Lonmin's mine in the North West, in which 34 striking miners were killed during a confrontation with police.

"(President Jacob) Zuma has appointed the commission of inquiry to look at the matter, but much more needs to be done. There needs to be more direct and more effective interventions," Leon told the annual 2012 Transformation Indaba at the Innovation Hub, east of Pretoria.

Leon said the Marikana shooting revealed that workers had rejected collective bargaining.

"When Marikana happened the resolution of the labour dispute was mediated by the SA Council of Churches and not by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) or the Amcu (Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union). The collective bargaining did not work in that situation and it was by-passed," said Leon.

A "new deal" was needed for transforming South Africa’s mines, Leon said. Transformation of the mining sector, as defined by the mining charter, was not confined to ownership of mines.

Ideal black economic empowerment would include employee share ownership, community development agreements, and radical changes to company law.

"People often lose sight of this; the mining charter isn't only concerned about ownership. It is also concerned about procurement, enterprise and skills development, beneficiation, housing and living conditions, and human resource management."

Leon said there was an overemphasis on ownership to the detriment of other aspects of the mining charter.

Many mining companies benefited the same connected individuals at the expense of mineworkers and people living around the mines.

Another panellist at the indaba, Peter Temane, chairman of the SA Mining Development Association, said most mining companies paid lip service to transformation regulations.

"Marikana was a manifestation of the frustrations of workers. If you go to almost any major mining area you find big mining operations and squalor around it. There is unwillingness by the major, foreign companies to stick to transformation.

"Transformation is going to happen, it may end up being imposed on the industry. If the mining companies are not willing to accept transformation, they will be forced to. Unfortunately we don’t have much time on our side."

Temane said the intentions of the BBE regulations were noble to transform the South African economy, but the legislation was bedevilled by implementation problems.

"We are now having unintended consequences due to lack of adherence to the policies and the unwillingness of multi-national companies to accept that they need to share the wealth of this country with the people.

"I am of the view that the mineral wealth of this country must bring in the greatest benefit for citizens. Instead of creating one or two billionaires, why not create 1000 or 2000 millionaires?" he asked.

  • faizieishlah.shabalala - 2012-11-14 16:10

    And you think these are just happening in isolation.Nah, catch a wake up SA.

  • mable.jacobs.90 - 2012-11-14 16:32

    Maybe, but we can afford R240 mil to build one forehead's home

  • Eterni80 - 2012-11-14 16:38

    there is a battle underway for control of SA - the winner gets to gorge themselves on our tax money, just like the ANC is doing currently. think of it this way - if our tax money was spent properly, would Zuma be able to afford a billion rand upgrade of his nkandla panic room ??

  • gary.desousa.7 - 2012-11-14 16:41

    This will spread to other sectors and has already started. Eventually it will be uncontrolled looting, rioting ,more national roads closed, more poverty and the cycle continues.

  • strikeback.strikeback - 2012-11-14 17:14

    Every now and then a person sticks his hand up and blame the system and the government and the employers and the cycles of the moon. When will they realise that the unions are to blame and incite violence for financial gain. In Italy and later America the Mafia controlled most unions because it was easy money if you had little or no moral values. Promise people the world, whilst you take your membership fee. In SA nothing much has changed. Liberals want to give away everything and believe all should benefit from the wealth of our minerals, but only people with money and guts invest in the mines. Once we share the wealth equally amongst all - like Kumba tried - they will spend the money in no time and be on strike in another couple of months. Any person who willingly stay employed by any institution is not exploited. Slaves were forced to work and had no choice, our workers have the choice to leave.

  • mark.uys.5 - 2012-11-14 18:19

    This beautiful country is on a dangerous turning point. It's very sad to see and understand all this with a mature mind. As a veteran infantry trooper, it's a ugly road that will change young minds. This will be the first day when roses are no longer red... Regardless of race, every person should huddle together and face the problem, not each other!

  • ro.jhb.1 - 2012-11-14 19:20

    Sadly more sh_t to come. The ANC makes laws they cant and wont police. They only steal.

  • robert.doyle.712 - 2012-11-15 02:54


  • gazaspells - 2012-11-15 14:49

    when there is a strike the economist come blazing with statistics on how many billions the economy has lost, wish they could throw a few of those millions or even a single billion to give affordable houses to miners and farmers, this will no doubt prevent anything near the levels of marikana ever happening again in south africa

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