Fight­ing job losses


Na­tional Union of Minework­ers lead­ers Eric Gcil­it­shana, Piet Matosa, David Sipunzi and Joseph Mon­tisetsi dis­cuss re­trench­ments in the min­ing in­dus­try at a press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day.

THE NA­TIONAL Union of Minework­ers (NUM), the big­gest or­gan­ised labour move­ment in the min­ing in­dus­try, wants Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma to re­move Min­eral Re­sources Min­is­ter Mosebenzi Zwane amid the jobs blood­bath and the loss of con­fi­dence fac­ing the em­bat­tled in­dus­try.

The union yes­ter­day said 20 000 jobs were on the line as com­pa­nies planned to close loss mak­ing shafts and as 80 000 jobs had been shed in the in­dus­try over the past five years.

NUM pres­i­dent Piet Matosa said the union’s re­la­tion­ship with Zwane was the worst of all the min­is­ters who led the port­fo­lio since 1994. Matosa called on Zuma to re­move Zwane.

“One of the chal­lenges we face as a union is that he is never avail­able. When we meet him in the ac­tiv­i­ties of the move­ment he will al­ways be­have like he’s been look­ing for us, whereas when you call him he doesn’t re­spond,” Matosa said.

“When you raise is­sues with him he will act as if he un­der­stood, but the next day he is go­ing to do some­thing that is com­pletely dif­fer­ent from the in­for­mal dis­cus­sions that we nor­mally have.”

Matosa said Zwane al­ways made changes in the de­part­ment of Min­eral Re­sources with­out en­gag­ing any­one.

Zwane re­ceived back­lash from the Cham­ber of Mines for gazetting the Min­ing Char­ter III last month with­out con­sul­ta­tion.

The cham­ber ap­proached the court for the char­ter to be re­viewed and set aside.

Zwane said ear­lier this month that he planned to place a mora­to­rium on the grant­ing of li­cences un­til the fi­nal­i­sa­tion of the court process.

Matosa said yes­ter­day that the pro­posed mora­to­rium would neg­a­tively af­fect jobs since it would freeze Sec­tion 11 of the Min­eral and Pe­tro­leum Re­sources Devel­op­ment Act, which deals with ap­provals on the change of own­er­ship and new min­ing rights. The union is plan­ning to meet with Zwane over the job losses.

“Now the first thing is to talk to Zwane and raise our views to him that this mora­to­rium is not good for the in­dus­try, it is not good for job cre­ation in South Africa and for those who are still em­ployed.

“Well, we hope that he will lis­ten to us, if he doesn’t, the only way to force him to lis­ten to our views is talk to those who are af­fected – the stake­hold­ers. We have not been en­gag­ing with them.”

The union said it had re­ceived sec­tion 189 no­tices from An­gloGold Ashanti and Bokoni Plat­inum, who planned to re­trench 8 500 and 2 651 work­ers, re­spec­tively.

An ad­di­tional 3 000 con­tract work­ers would also lose their jobs at Bokoni, in­creas­ing the fig­ure to more than 5 000.

The Cham­ber of Mines said yes­ter­day that be­tween 2012 and 2016, the in­dus­try lost around 70 000 jobs.

The cham­ber’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Roger Bax­ter said: “Our in­dus­try’s fu­ture, and its abil­ity to con­tinue to pro­vide em­ploy­ment and ben­e­fits to em­ploy­ees, de­pends on the abil­ity of its stake­hold­ers (gov­ern­ment, labour and min­ing com­pa­nies) to ac­tively con­sult each other and work to­gether.”

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