Newly appointed mineral resources minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi has vowed to put an end to South Africa’s longest ever mines strike, which is “hurting the economy,” he said, speaking after the swearing in ceremony for ministers and deputies in Pretoria late on Monday.
“What is needed is to find out what the issues are that are holding back a resolution. I am asking business and the miners to back me up to find a solution that can break this deadlock … It can’t be business as usual,” he said.
He argued that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has every right to strike as the recognised union, and that negotiations would always respect that status. But he appealed to both sides to assist government in bringing the longest running strike in the country’s history to an end.
He said engagement would involve supporting mediation efforts by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Reconciliation.
Ramatlhodi, a lawyer and former deputy minister of correctional services, has replaced Susan Shabangu as head of the mining ministry. Meanwhile, Shabangu has been given the position of head of the ministry of women, which falls under the presidency.
The four-month long strike has crippled production at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum (Implats) and Lonmin, costing over R19 billion in revenue and nearly R9 billion in wages.
Amcu is demanding a 150% increase to a R12 500 basic salary over a four-year period while the mines’ latest offer would see workers earn a minimum cash remuneration – comprising basic wages and holiday, living-out and other allowances – of R12 500 a month by 2017.
Ramatlhodi promises end to costly platinum strike
Gold Fields: worker loses life in industrial accident
Paladin Energy ceases production and begins care and maintenance at Kayelekera