As Malema so intelligently affirms, where else in the world does a miner have to exist on a miserly after deductions, salary of only $450 per month.
My humble opinion is that every lowly skilled and semi educated miner within all African States south of our borders, would likely endure the same humiliation of having to barely exist on way less than $450 clear, per month. I would go so far as to say that almost every unskilled, peasant Chinese miner would wet his pants if he was given $450 clear per month. The same would apply I imagine, to most of the miners employed in South America, Korea, Malaysia, and every other third world country.
A prominent Government Minister also followed the mantra, that low wages for miners was also a complete atrocity of the past, following the Marikana Massacre. Mr Minister, higher salaries may well be the norm in countries like Australia, Canada and America. Unfortunately, also is the practise of the non hiring of uneducated, unskilled, peasant mentality workers. These countries mines cope with higher salaries by relying on full scale mining mechanisation, using the latest technologies available. They therefore only employ, highly educated and skilled employees, to cope with the demands of cutting edge technology. If South Africa were to adopt similar mechanisation to afford over inflated salaries, mister lowly rock drill operator would unfortunately immediately become unemployable, to be replaced by electronically controlled and hydraulically powered, automated, percussion drilling jumbo rigs. Unfortunately, you cannot have your cake and eat it. The mining complement on highly mechanised mines in 1st world countries is a fraction of that seen in South African mining operations.
South African mines are reputed to be some of the deepest in the world, and therefore the most expensive to operate. In contrast, most overseas mines are shallow open cast operations, where gigantic surface cable operated excavators, front end loaders, and dump trucks are all that is needed. No expensive mine shafts, headgears and cage cable winders. No refrigerated, enormously expensive ventilation systems. No kilometres of hydraulic pipes water pipes, ventilation pipes, powerfull fan systems, or equal lengths of underground tunnels, haulage ways, and mining stopes. No exorbitantly expensive, custom designed, low profile, massive fleets of fire and explosion proofed, underground mining vehicles.
The only way South African mines can hope to compete in an ever more competitive world mining environment, is to create an economic sustainable balance between labour costs, and the remuneration received form minerals mined.
Mr Malema, Mr Government, tamper with this precarious economic balance at your peril. As you are all proceeding at present, total collapse of this countries mining industry and the myriad of satellite businesses it supports, plus its huge contribution to this countries balance of payments account through providing desperately need foreign currency, are all at dire risk.
Tread carefully, or face the consequences of huge unemployment, and a mass uprising of this countries semi-educated and poorly skilled, as they suffer from hunger and joblessness.
To conclude, I would like to include the following verbatim statements given yesterday in a news 24 article, by Jonathan Jansen, Free State University Rector. He has summarised the attitude of the countries workers, more fluently and accurately than I could ever have hoped to do. He is obviously a highly intelligent, highly educated, and very politically astute individual.
“There is a worrying notion in South Africa that material prosperity can be achieved without an education.
The desperate route to power and privilege that bypasses education and training is amply on display in the political arena. Two of the country's most influential politicians were semi-illiterate.
That the most charismatic among our national leaders have themselves accessed enormous wealth and privilege without personal investments in education and training must be enormously attractive to millions of young people failed by the school system before and since 1994."
Even the workers at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, had understood that they could gain material benefit without pursuing the long, hard road to education and training.
A demand of R12 500 after tax is more than what a beginner teacher with a degree and teacher's diploma will take home after deductions.
Of course, this demand for massive financial reward makes sense when the union bosses themselves drive expensive cars and lead luxurious lifestyles."