Sibanye: Thousands of Marikana workers will be retrenched

Lonmin reports improved financial results ahead of proposed merger with Sibanye-Stillwater expected next year
Lonmin reports improved financial results ahead of proposed merger with Sibanye-Stillwater expected next year

Sibanye Stillwater [JSE:SGL] has started with retrenchment consultations at its Marikana operation.

In a statement released on Wednesday morning, the company acknowledged that 5,270 jobs were at risk. 

Sibanye-Stillwater took control of the loss-making Marikana platinum mine as part of its acquisition of Lonmin, which was completed in June.. 

Sibanye Stillwater said in the statement that it would enter section 189 consultation at its Marikana operation and associated services regarding restructuring,  as a result of ongoing financial losses at the operations and aging shafts. Of the 5,270 jobs expected to be lost due to the restructuring, 3,904 were permanent positions, while 1,366 were of contractors.

Through the section 189 process, the company and all those affected will consider measures to mitigate possible retrenchments and seek alternatives to the potential cessation or downscaling of operations at the affected shafts and associated services.

"The restructuring will result in the rationalisation of overheads and the realisation of other synergies and efficiencies required to restore profitability and ensure the sustainability of the remaining shafts at the Marikana operations," the statement said.

Seven years ago, 34 mineworkers were shot dead in a burst of police gunfire during a protest at the Marikana operations. Ten people, including security guards and police officers, were killed in the run-up to the mass shootings at two sites around a koppie where workers had gathered during their strike, demanding a minimum salary of R12 500 a month.

Sibanye Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman said while review processes showed some shafts would be affected, others which were flagged as being at risk such as 4B shaft, K3 mining into Siphumelele ground, Roland mining into MK2 ground as well as K4 concentrator, will continue to operate.

"The proposed restructuring is contemplated to ensure the sustainability of the Marikana operation, which is not a going concern as an independent entity. Overall, the outcome will be a more sustainable business which is able to secure employment for the majority of the Marikana workforce for a much longer period," said Froneman.

In late August, Sibanye Stillwater posted a headline loss of almost R1.3bn for the six months to end-June due to a five-month long strike at its South African gold operations, despite doubling profits from SA platinum mines.

According to the SENS report, Sibanye employs over 88 000 people in South Africa, up from 37 700 employees around 2013.

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