Mineral Resources Minister Adv. Ngoako Ramatlhodi promised to take “extraordinary measures” to prevent strikes in the mining industry, such as the unprecedented five-month long strike experienced in 2014, at the Investing in Mining Indaba 2015 Conference on Tuesday.

In his opening address at the indaba, he said he would be firm on discouraging violence among unions and encouraged parties to contest labour issues according to the law.

If mineworkers or unions are to break the law, “we will charge [them] and send them to jail,” he said.

He called the platinum strike last year “an exception to the rule” but does not foresee this to happen again as he will not let parties to engage in a struggle like this without resolution.

Commenting on the Ramatlhodi’s keynote address, Grant Thornton Johannesburg partner Jacques Barradas applauds the Minister for his almost militant stance when referring to striking mineworkers that damage and loot the community in which they live and within their place of work.

Barrades encourages Ramatlhodi to follow through on this promise in the coming months.

Meanwhile, Ramatlhodi also emphasised South Africa’s readiness for investment during his speech, citing the country’s stable constitutional democracy and strong monetary and fiscal regime as reasons. Despite the current commodity crunch, the weak commodity prices bring with it opportunities to do business.

Barrades agrees with this highlighting that government, business and – most importantly – labour, need to be included in the investment processes as it is clear from the previous years’ strike action that labour must buy into the process otherwise it could disrupt the business environment completely, he says.