HomeBase MetalsSouth Africa labour turmoil affecting growth

South Africa labour turmoil affecting growth

Striking platinum
miners march near
the Anglo-American
Platinum mine
outside Rustenburg
in South Africa
Tokyo, Japan — 15 October 2012 – Two months of crippling labour turmoil are likely to force South Africa to look again at its economic growth forecasts, says the central bank’s deputy governor.

Reuters reports that wildcat strikes that started in the platinum mines have left more than 50 people dead and spilled across to other industries, undermining investor confidence in Africa’s biggest economy and tarnishing President Jacob Zuma’s government.

“Growth forecasts will most likely need to be revisited,” Reserve Bank deputy governor Daniel Mminele said in a speech to a JP Morgan investor seminar here that was posted on the central bank’s website.

The Reserve Bank’s latest economic growth forecasts were for an average 2.6% this year and 3.4% next “’ still far short of the rate South Africa reckons it needs to cut unemployment accounting for a quarter of the labour force.

Clashes continued over the weekend, nearly two months after police shot dead 34 strikers at Lonmin’s Marikana mine on August16, the bloodiest security incident in South Africa’s post-apartheid history.

More than 70 miners were arrested after clashes with police over the weekend and workers at Anglo American Platinum pledged to press on with their wildcat strike even after the company dismissed thousands of strikers.
Amplats “’ which has lost 67,000oz of production worth R1.1 billion in the four-week strike “’ has fired 12,000 workers for failing to attend disciplinary hearings.

The world’s largest platinum producer has issued force majeure notices to its chrome clients, but says its ability to deliver platinum group metals and base metals remains unaffected at this stage.
Impala Platinum Holdings Limited (Implats) has revealed that it received a memorandum from the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) during the weekend.

A spokesperson for Implats said, “we would like to thank the NUM marshals and the JMPD officers for their professional organisation of a peaceful and disciplined march of between 300 and 400 supporters. We will study their list of demands, and continue to engage with their leadership at our operations, and through the industry-wide negotiations at the Chamber of Mines.

Moving to the gold sector, police broke up a sit-in by nearly 600 miners from a Gold Fields mine demanding the release of colleagues at a police station, about 45 km (30 miles) west of Johannesburg. Seventy-two miners were arrested.

Village Main Reef issued a final ultimatum to 1,700 employees engaged in an illegal strike at its Blyvooruitzicht gold mine to return to work for the night shift last night. Failure to heed the ultimatum by any of these employees would result in their services being terminated. The affected employees would have until Wednesday, 17 October 2012 to appeal against their dismissals.

Source: Reuters, Impala Platinum. For more information, click here.