The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union has called on government to nationalise distressed mines in order to stop the bleeding of jobs from the sector.
The union, presenting to the mineral resources portfolio committee in Pretoria earlier this week, proposed that government should take over the struggling mines in order to create jobs rather than aim sorely for profits.
“Nationalisation of the mines, beginning with distressed mines, will promote the principle of social mining, which is mining for job creating, community improvement and not focused on profit alone,” said Amcu’s national health and safety coordinator Gabriel Nkosi during the hearing, which was also attended by the Chamber of Mines and the National Union of Mineworkers.
Nkosi also said the union wanted the government to look into the feasibility of employees registering a company to buy operations at which they are currently employed.
Amcu also proposed that mining houses unbundle their operations so that international operations were cut off and singled out AngloGold Ashanti, which currently has a number of operations outside the country.
“It is important that the allocation of capital expenditure should not compare regions based on a single currency. Rather, funding of projects should take account of regional performance based on its local,” he said.
The industry is expected to shed almost 20 000 jobs this years alone and since January, at least two mining houses issued a total of four major retrenchment notices.
AngloGold Ashanti issued three notices for a total of 11 649 jobs while Sibanye Gold retrenched 7 200 people last month.
According to the committee’s chairperson, Sahlulele Luzipho, the committee will still have to discuss the proposals before compiling a report for Parliament to consider.
However, Luzipho said Amcu’s proposal will need to be carefully considered before it’s put into the report.
“Why should the government take a mine that is non-profitable? We are not dismissing it but we will consider all proposals,” he said, pointing out that in considering the proposal, the committee will also factor in other reasons for mines closing down.