The Sunday World reported 2014/06/08, “MINERAL Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi warned on Tuesday of dire consequences and job losses following the collapse on Monday of the government’s attempt to end the platinum strike.”
“Dire consequences” for me and any other peace-loving citizen of South Africa call for immediate, resolute and effective measures to be taken by the ultimate Commander, President Zuma.
Minister Ramatlhodi has also said that the Labour Relations Act was flawed in that it gave no power to Government to have the final say when the Employer and Employees in a strike cannot come to an agreement, and all remedies including the Labour Court have been tried.
Not only is there a flaw in the Labour Law, there is a greater flaw in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996. The Constitution was put together as a measure to broker an agreement between the Liberation Struggle Forces and the Forces of the Apartheid State. The tool achieved wonderfully, ensuring that a possible destructive Civil War and destruction of Communities, Property and the Economy was averted.
It was a result of Great Leadership skills demonstrated by President De Klerk and the Eminent Nelson Mandela. It was also a result of such Compromise as would not have been accepted by the majority of the Citizens of Suid Afrika on either side of the Apartheid Divide. Certainly, President Mandela would not have pulled it off had he depended on a Democratic Decision by his many supporters and those opposed to the approach his African National Congress adopted in creating a New South Africa.
The point I am making here is that it is time the nation of South Africa is allowed to set up a Broad Based Constitution Review Committee to improve the constitution and, like the Kenyans did, present it to the nation at large to get buy-in and a product with less flaws by 2016.
Some of the flaws in the current Constitution are that the rights of individuals such as the owners of the Platinum Mining Businesses and members of Striking Unions are protected inflexibly by the Labour Relations Act. This is to the detriment of the rest of uninvolved individuals, the Physical Environment in which Mining is taking place, the Tribes and land-owners where mining is occurring, the families of origin of striking miners in the Eastern Cape, Mozambique and Lesotho, all the businesses that depend on Peace, Tranquility, Law and Order in the mining sector and the whole Economy of South Africa.
The current impasse in the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and mining Company strike has assumed cataclysmic proportions! It is like a burning fuel tanker hurtling downhill toward a crowded city, while the driver, President Zuma, waits to get clarity on what the Standing Working Procedures and the Constitution say he must do in such an eventuality!
Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi set up an inter-governmental task team to assist platinum producers and Amcu resolve the impasse. No resolution was reached. The two warring factions even got a judge to give them special attention after the Labour Court failed to get agreement. Rre Ramatlhodi lamented the fact that he did not have a log-jam busting instrument to “unleash” on the two at each other’s throats!
The Kgosi of Bapo baa Mogale boldly approached the Constitutional Court hoping that the Chief Justice could help. He was directed to the High Court in Mafikeng, who will probably take eons to get to grant him his wish for peace, tranquility, law and order in his village. If you think the Kgosi is naïve, look at what the great Gill Marcus, Governor of the Reserve Bank has been saying.
Governor Marcus said she believed a recession was unlikely but urged all sectors, including labour, to work together to rebuild confidence in the economy and boost growth from a "low positive number". "It behoves all of us - government, business, and labour - to rebuild the confidence and trust that is an imperative to change the negative trajectory that the economy is presently on." Jun 10 2014 14:06 Sapa
Amcu treasurer Mr. Jimmy Gama said, "There is ... evidence presented by researchers which shows that the R12,500 demanded by AMCU could be afforded by the industry. The government task team was supposed to look at the numbers and come up with a proposal. But it didn’t happen that way." Mr Ramatlhodi’s spokesman, Mahlodi Muofhe, said that the financial circumstances of the mining companies had been interrogated. Govan Whittles EWN
The reason for existence of the Industry and Investors is to make maximum profit, take minimal risks, and to hell with the Environment they destroy and poison, the communities they do not give a chance to benefit from the exploitation of their land, the personal development of the employees and the host country. They are driven by greed, nothing else!
Given the entrenched positions of the two warring adolescents, one wanting maximum profits, the other adopting Boko Haram tactics, “until our demands are met!”, only the father of the nation, President Zuma has the power to help NOW!
THIS is Africa! I would like the Commander-in-Chief, who got an overwhelming vote of confidence of more than 60% last month, to suspend the Labour Relations Act until the provisions dealing with Strike Resolution get an urgent review.
The Taxman has lost millions in unpaid taxes as the whole economy near and far away from the stalled mines has collapsed with the result that unemployment and bankruptcy are rising. So the president can safely instruct the Taxman to tell the Mine Bosses to PAY the miners the R12,500 they demand. Their demand met, the striking miners will gladly and peacefully return to work, allowing all the other mine workers they have intimidated to also return to work.
The Taxman and President Zuma will give to the Mine bosses the multiple R12,500 paid to the miners, and work out a way to get it from a reduction of the ENORMOUS salaries, Bonuses and profits all the mine bosses and CEOs in South Africa have raked in since 1652! This is where President Zuma may have to seek the advice of the Pan Africanist Congress, the Economic Freedom Fighters and Liberation Struggle Veterans outside of the African National Congress. THIS is Azania!
President Zuma should proceed to assist Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi in revising the Labor Relations Act. In the revision, the rights of the rest of the citizens of the country must be kept paramount. The Economic Machinery must be protected from damage as the survival of the country depends on it. Food security, Education and Health Services must be protected. Certainly, No Government Minister should be so negligent as to create a need for Essential Services Personnel such as teachers, health care workers, soldiers, police, prison minders and secret service operatives to go on strike! The capacity to ensure personal incomes for workers even when they are disgruntled must be enhanced by the revamped Labour Relations Act.
The new Labour Relations Act must ensure that Employers promote the wellbeing of the workers, pay for the education and healthcare of their dependents, assist the workers to build a house at their village of origin and provide them with a habitable and safe accommodation and social welfare services near their place of employment. The pay packet need then not be huge as the total package of remuneration will cover the long-term needs of the worker.
If the wage and remuneration negotiations fail, the company CEO and the Union Boss must be held personally responsible – they should not fail to reach an agreement! Period.
This is what I expect the President of South Africa to do – what is considered impossible at present! Bishops and Priests, The Gift of the Givers, the traditional Chiefs in the Platinum Belt and in the Eastern Cape, the High Court and the Government Ministers led by Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi will all agree we need the Father to IMPOSE a solution!
We are in the hands of our Commander- In-Chief!