Min­ing sec­tor faces un­rest and other woes

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES -

THE pro­lif­er­a­tion of il­le­gal min­ing in­ci­dents, com­mu­nity un­rest are some of the prob­lems that have in­creased risk in min­ing in South Africa the Cham­ber of Mines chief ne­go­tia­tor, El­ize Stry­dom said yes­ter­day.

Stry­dom was speak­ing at the Na­tional User Min­ing Fo­rum on the plat­inum and gold sec­tors, an in­for­ma­tion shar­ing ses­sion that was hosted by the Com­mis­sion for Con­cil­i­a­tion, Me­di­a­tion and Ar­bi­tra­tion (CCMA) in Ma­galies­burg yes­ter­day.

“The Cham­ber is work­ing closely with the po­lice. We es­tab­lished a steer­ing com­mit­tee on se­cu­rity af­ter the Marikana Mas­sacre in in Au­gust 2012,and we have a per­son who li­aises daily with the po­lice at a se­nior level,” she said.

She also told labour, busi­ness and CCMA of­fi­cials about the dan­gers of il­le­gal min­ers, also known as zama-za­mas. “To go un­der­ground is dan­ger­ous, there are a lot of booby traps and some­times the il­le­gal min­ers are armed with AK47s. As a re­sult the po­lice have said that we can­not ex­pect us to go un­der­ground,” said Stry­dom.

A case in point was Sibanye Gold’s Cooke op­er­a­tions, south west of Johannesburg, which have been sus­pended for al­most three weeks fol­low­ing an un­pro­tected strike that was sparked by the com­pany’s plan to root out il­le­gal min­ing.

Stry­dom said com­mu­nity un­rest had be­come com­mon. “Com­mu­ni­ties are de­mand­ing jobs. They are mak­ing the lives of mines very dif­fi­cult. Daily we have road­blocks that pre­vent trucks from de­liv­er­ing goods to mines,” she said.

Stry­dom said the in­dus­try had averted a strike in the plat­inum sec­tor last year af­ter sign­ing a three year wage agree­ment with or­gan­ised labour, which a pos­i­tive devel­op­ment for the plat­inum in­dus­try which suf­fered a five month wage strike in 2014 and the Marikana Mas­sacre in mid-Au­gust 2012.

The in­dus­try was also pre­par­ing with coal wage talks af­ter agree­ing to ne­go­ti­ate at a cen­tral level at the Cham­ber. “In the coal wage we will ne­go­ti­ate with the NUM, the big­gest union in the sec­tor, trade union Sol­i­dar­ity, United As­so­ci­a­tion of South Africa, and for the first time, we will have the Na­tional Union of Me­tal­work­ers of South Africa,”she said. The gold wage sec­tor are set for next year . “We are meet­ing on a monthly ba­sis. We are mon­i­tor­ing what hap­pen­ing in the sec­tor to see what will be crit­i­cal dur­ing the talks,”Stry­dom said.

“The gold sec­tor wage talks next year will be prob­lem­atic. This is be­cause we have the Num and the As­so­ci­a­tion of Minework­ers and Con­struc­tion Union (Amcu) which are strug­gling for mem­ber­ship,”she said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.