Cape Town - Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane instructed the Minerals and Petroleum Board to verify the information that AngloGold Ashanti provided as reasons for embarking on the retrenchment of some 8 500 workers.
Following a meeting with AngloGold executives on Friday, Zwane issued a media statement saying he has tasked the Minerals and Petroleum Board with ensuring that the miner’s intended action take into account the commitments mining companies had made when signing the Stakeholder Declaration earlier as a pledge to save jobs in the industry.
In August 2015, stakeholders in the mining industry signed a declaration committing to saving jobs and help ameliorate the impact of job losses in the sector.
AngloGold announced on Wednesday that unsustainable losses at some of its operations would necessitate restructuring at some business units which could result in retrenchments.
Earlier this year, the company warned that it would review its South African gold mining operations in the light of losses incurred. It said some of the older mines have reached the end of their economic lives, several decades after they started production.
Zwane in a statement urged mining companies to act “responsibly and with sensitivity”.
“These are not just numbers to be thrown around, but people’s livelihoods and future job prospects and we should not take this matter lightly,” he said in reference to the mooted retrenchments.
Zwane in his statement warned mining companies to adhere to legislation when considering retrenchments.
“The Section 52 process in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA), and Section 189 process of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) should be adhered to, in order to avoid the creation of uncertainty in the industry,” he said.
Section 52 of the MPRDA states that the holder of a mining right remains responsible for the implementation of the processes provided in the Labour Relations Act pertaining to the management of downscaling and retrenchment, until the Minister of Mineral Resources has issued a closure certificate to the holder concerned.Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter: Fin24’s top stories