SA moves to rescue mining sector

Jun 14 2013 18:30

Johannesburg - Urgent intervention is needed in eight areas in the mining sector, the presidency said on Friday.

They included workplace relations, workers' indebtedness, and the need for law and order to counter violence and conflict.

"The Rustenburg platinum belt was identified as one of those [areas where the mines operate] that requires immediate intervention," the presidency said in a statement.

Officials from trade unions and the mines met Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Friday.

President Jacob Zuma tasked Motlanthe with leading interactions with unions and mining companies.

The other areas identified as requiring immediate intervention were: the annual assessment of the mining charter; the socio-economic conditions of workers and the areas where mines operate; the identification of long-term policy measures to end uncertainty about sector regulations and tax.

Urgent intervention was also needed to ensure proper housing for mineworkers; and to repositioning the mining industry to become attractive to investors and a more meaningful contributor to job creation.

Violence and stoppages

"We recognise that deepening workplace conflict has led to violence and stoppages. This has impacted negatively on production, investment, workers and communities," the participants said in a statement after the meeting.

They committed themselves to working together to put in place processes which would "bring about real changes", and to work to sustain and improve production.

The industry has been plagued by strikes and violence, especially in the Rustenburg platinum belt.

Earlier on Friday, Motlanthe said the meeting would work hard to resolve problems in the industry.

Also present at the talks were Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, and Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu, who have been tasked with assisting Motlanthe, as were State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

The meeting was also attended by the CEOs of various mining houses and representatives of the Chamber of Mines and the SA Mining Development Association.

The trade unions Uasa, Solidarity, the National Council of Trade Unions, and the Federation of Unions of SA were represented at the meeting, as were the National Union of Mineworkers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.

Amcu has halted a plan to embark on a strike at Lonmin over recognition rights as the majority union.

The parties would meet again, as frequently as required, to work on issues in the industry as they arose, said Motlanthe's spokesperson Thabo Masebe.

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