20 August 2012
A task force will be set up to look into labour issues in South Africa’s platinum industry after last week’s violent clashes near the Lonmin mine in Marikana, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said on the weekend.
The task force will consist of representatives from the mining industry, unions, government and traditional leadership.
Forty-four people, including two police officers and 34 mine workers, were killed and scores injured in violent clashes in the mining town of Marikana outside Rustenburg, North West province last week.
Shabangu and Labour Minister Mildred Olifant met with the Chamber of Mines, business and organised labour in Johannesburg on Saturday to discuss and agree on an action plan to address the violence at Lonmin’s Marikana mine and share practices applied by other mining companies.
The management of Lonmin, the Chamber of Mines and other mining executives gave an account of what challenges they faced relating to engaging with labour organisations and employees generally.
Both ministers then met with organised labour to get their account and what they perceived as the source of the conflict.
Olifant reminded all parties of the legal processes pertaining to labour organisations and how they needed to operate as required by the law.
Shabangu also put to all stakeholders the need to agree on how the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) would be engaged going forward, as long as their operations were within the confines of the law.
Shabangu reiterated the need for all role players to uphold the spirit of tripartism as the image of the country’s mining industry was being tarnished after the sector, working with the government, had gone out to the world saying that the South African mining sector was open for business and encouraging investors to invest in the sector.