Jacob Zuma goes off script to call for mining truce

2014-02-13 20:09

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President Jacob Zuma has deviated from his prepared state of the nation address to call for a truce between mine bosses and workers.

He told MPs this evening that union leaders as well as bosses should deal responsibly with union workers.

In his prepared speech, Zuma said: “We have intervened in mining because it is one of our key job drivers. We need a mining sector that works. Mining employs over half a million people,” he said.

He added that it was the biggest earner of foreign exchange in the country. “It also contributes about R20 billion directly to the tax revenue,” he said.

Zuma also reminded mining companies that 2014 was their deadline to improve the houses and living conditions of mine workers.

He said while the depreciation of the rand would make the country’s infrastructure plan more expensive, it would benefit manufacturing.

“We know that we can cope with this period of turbulence. We have done so before in the past five years,” he said. “We will, in fact, emerge stronger if we do the right things.”

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