The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Matlosana Region will embark
on a protest march against AngloGold Ashanti after the company issued Section 189 process of the Labour Relations Act to retrench 8 500
workers at its two operations in Matlosana and Carletonville.
Amina Accram – SABC
The National Union of Mineworkers says it’s urgently calling on the African National Congress-led government to intensify its efforts to prevent job losses in the mining sector.
Speaking at a press briefing earlier on Monday NUM says ANC must come out and denounce the continued bloodshed since the battle now is in everyone’s hands.
NUM says given the huge profits announced by the mining companies over the years, retrenchments in the sector raise a lot of questions.
NUM says it will be marching this week against planned retrenchments, especially in the platinum mining sector.
The union says some of the mining companies have defaulted and no longer follow guidelines of stakeholder declarations in the mining sector.
The union is calling for a jobs summit and improved relationships between itself and the mining companies.
David Sipunzi, NUM General Secretary, says, “We need a job summit and jobs plan to deal with the issue to deal with the retrenchments NUM calls on the companies to rethink on their positions. They must create opportunities for job creations rather than profits at the expense of the poor mine workers who earn poverty wages.”
Deputy Secretary General William Mabapa says the current retrenchments could also be politically motivated by mining companies as the ANC heads towards its December Elective Conference.
NUM is deeply disturbed by the current consideration by Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane to put in place a moratorium until the finalisation of the current court challenges of the gazetted Mining Charter by the Chamber of Mines.
NUM says it believes the moratorium will negatively impact its members through further job losses since there is no Section 11 approvals taking place on the change of ownership or prospecting rights.
The union will submit to the department to desist from implementing the envisaged moratorium with immediate effect.
NUM president Piet Matosa says, “As a union, we have not been interacting the way we are supposed to with the minister. Now, the first thing is for us to talk to him and raise our views with him that this moratorium is not good for the industry and job creation and it is not good for those also employed and we hope that he will listen to us.”
The union says its relationship with Mineral and Resources has irrevocably broken. It’s calling for the resignation of the minister with immediate effect. It will be addressing the matter with the president.
Matosa says the minister is not helping the industry.
“We do not have a good relationship with the man. He has decided to work with the people he is working with, whom we don’t know and has embarked on a number of changes in the department without sensitising us. We have had a very good working relationship with all the ministers since 1994. The relationship with the minister is the worst, but that does not mean that we don’t have to keep on engaging and one the challenges is that he is never available.”
On Monday, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the mining sector had to be viewed for its long-term potential contribution to the economy and dealt with “holistically”.
This was about looking beyond the Mining Charter, although the importance of transformation in the sector should not be “de-emphasised”.
“We must deal with the industry … not in a way that appears to be punitive. Mining is not a short-term sector … it is a long-term sector … we must create an environment for that industry to perform,” Mantashe said, addressing journalists after the lekgotla.
He said part of this approach would be to finalise the charter as well as the Mineral Petroleum and Resources Development Act. The ANC’s policy conference also agreed that sections of the charter had to be reworked.