I read with amusement the article on the great philanthropist, Robert Friedland, plans for his mining operation in South Africa. What an angel.
As usual, the journalist makes no attempt to try to find out some truths about the current wage situation, and reasons for it. Its much more sensational giving us the "Jesus is coming" version of the situation.
I highly doubt the wage is currently $12 per day. That is currently more or less the same as a farm labourer. In fact I'm convinced this is a total lie - I'm surprised the mining companies don't respond. If the truth, I wonder how they have got away with it up to this point.
The angel says he is going to fully mechanise the mine. This means (without any doubt whatsoever) that the labour force will be drastically reduced. Obviously skilled machine operators will get much higher wages, how noble. What is going to happen to all the retrenched people though. Also, if his mechanisation is successful, the mechanisation will expand through the industry, resulting in big job losses.
I mean, the guys a mega wealthy billionaire. Did he accumulate this wealth through sharing? My belief is the total wage bill will be no higher than the current one, it will just be shared amongst less labour, hence the bigger wages. I'm all for paying higher wages, but if it results in massive unemployment at the same time I don't see much benefit.
Its like these politicians going into poor areas driving their fancy R1 million cars, preaching to the poor how they care for them. Wealthy spin doctors.
I think Friedland is quite simply just another shrewd businessman, who has worked out that using machines instead of people to do labour, in our country, reduces a lot of risk for him, in terms of strikes. His logic is based on observation of our countries highly volatile and politically manipulated labour force. It is purely a business decision with no real thought regarding the labourers suffering, his comments on the latter is just spin, readily lapped up by the unthinking public.
I'd like more detail on his Kamoa and Kipushi operations in the Congo, that would help a lot in judging how good or bad the fellow is.
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