Job cuts in mining industry worry SA government

VENTURES AFRICA – Retrenchments that have been pronounced in South Africa’s mining industry recently were a serious cause for concern for the government, Minister of Mineral Resources, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, admitted on Tuesday.

He was more worried about the fact that these retrenchments were going to add woes to the already ailing South African economy.

Last week, JSE-listed platinum producer, Lonmin, said it would retrench 3 500 workers at its South African mines due to lower platinum prices. Lonmin was among the platinum miners that were affected by the five-month long wage strike earlier last year.

The other platinum miners were Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and Impala Platinum (Implats). At the time, economists did warn that these strikes would lead to massive job cuts. “We need bold leadership from all in the industry at this time, in order to decisively tackle this matter,” Ramatlhodi said. “Notwithstanding the difficulties faced by the industry currently, the impact of retrenchments on the economy – when we are already grappling with the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality – will have an adverse impact on the country’s socio-economic development objectives.”

Ben Magara, the Lonmin CEO, said these job cuts were aimed at saving the business for as many workers as possible.
Ramatlhodi said he is poised to escalate the issue for serious talks at the forthcoming gathering of the Mining Industry Growth Development and Employment Task Team (Migdett) principals this week Thursday.