5-month platinum strike was a wake-up call – Ramatlhodi

2014-10-08 11:26

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The cost of this year’s prolonged platinum strike to the mining industry and the economy was beyond words, Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi has said.

“Strikes are not a unique South African phenomenon,” he told the Joburg Indaba on mining in Sandton, Johannesburg, today.

“However, when it runs into a period of five months it’s a wake-up call to all stakeholders.”

Ramatlhodi said the strike had brought regulatory institutions into question.

As soon as he was appointed minister, just after the May general elections, he had to intervene in talks between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and platinum operators.

Amcu announced the end of the strike on June 23.

Ramatlhodi said he had to do this without substituting institutions tasked with regulating labour relations.

The minister thanked everyone who helped to resolve the wage dispute.

“This demonstrated that in South Africa we are able to overcome challenges through dialogue.

“We take pride in the fact that we as a nation are blessed with a unique gift of solving [problems] through dialogue,” Ramatlhodi said.

He wanted to be involved in any change in the industry, saying this was part of his oath of office.

When the industry was planning do anything, such as restructuring, he wanted to be included.

“I want to be taken into confidence ... quite ahead of time so that I can assist,” he told the conference.

“It is important that we work together.”

Ramatlhodi said compliance with the Mining Charter was being looked at and in the end there would be no difference in interpretation by all parties.

“We hope at the end of the process we’ll be able to take remedial action.”

The minister spoke about transformation in the industry.

Participation in the sector had to be broadened beyond ownership.

“I want to see a situation where your black counterparts participate in all levels. There needs to be a critical mass of black participation,” Ramatlhodi said.

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