SA mining ready to move forward: Zuma

14 February 2013

The government has brought about certainty at policy level in South Africa’s mining industry, President Jacob Zuma told Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday evening.

Delivering his 2013 State of the Nation Address in Parliament, Zuma said the nationalisation debate had been laid to rest at the ruling African National Congress’s (ANC’s) national conference in Mangaung in December.

The sector, which is the backbone of the economy, has faced many difficulties in recent months, including a series of wildcat strikes and the tragedy at Marikana in North West province in which more than 44 people were killed.

“We established an inter-ministerial committee made up of senior cabinet ministers to assist families during that difficult period,” Zuma said. “The judicial commission of inquiry led by Judge Ian Farlam continues its work. Through working together we were able to restore social stability in the area.”

He said the government, labour, business and the community sector had met in October and reached an agreement which laid the basis for a return to work across the mining industry.

“In particular, we agreed to work together to strengthen collective bargaining; to address the housing problems in the mining towns; to support the national infrastructure programme; to address youth unemployment; and to identify measures to reduce inequalities.

“Work is under way, and the team will report in due course with specific plans for Rustenburg, Lephalale, Emalahleni, West Rand, Welkom, Klerksdorp, Burgersfort/Steelport, Carletonville and Madibeng,” Zuma said.

Regarding Anglo American Platinum’s (Amplats’) reported plans to restructure and retrench 14 000 workers, Zuma said he had met with the chairman of Anglo-American, John Parker, in Pretoria to discuss the matter.

Amplats announced earlier this year that it was considering retrenching 14 000 workers, but has since put this on hold.