S. African gov’t warns against retrenchment of mineworkers

President of South Africa Jacob Zuma looks on at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) at in New York City


The South Africa n government on Thursday issued a stern warning to a mining company which planned to retrench thousands of mineworkers.

The announcement by Implats Platinum that it will retrench 13,000 workers is a clear example of a company that “is careless, and mindlessly committed to implementing its pre-determined outcome; no matter how unworkable that might be,” Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe said.

“Their reckless actions add injury to insult,” said Mantashe.

Implats Platinum, one of the world’s foremost producers of platinum and associated platinum group metals (PGMs), announced earlier in the day that it will cut 13,000 jobs in a restructuring process in order to generate enough cash by 2021 from its Rustenburg operations in North West Province.

“We have consistently maintained that only an industry that does not regard workers as a valuable asset behaves in this manner,” Mantashe said.

This is worst disconcerting considering the high unemployment rate in the country, the minister said.

The latest survey by Statistics South Africa shows that the unemployment rate in the country surged to 27.2 percent in the second quarter of 2018.

Mantashe said his ministry urges Implats to reconsider its actions.

“Now is the time to work collectively and make our country prosper, and desist from behavior that is careless and without foresight,” he said.

According to Mantashe, the Department of Mineral Resources was still at the beginning of an engagement with Implats “wherein we encouraged them to consider different options of saving jobs and keeping their operations working.”

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