from SAVIOUS KWINIKA in Johannesburg, South Africa
JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH Africa is sitting on a ticking time bomb with the loss of thousands of jobs in the mining sector due to the economic recession.
Recently, 21 000 miners lost their jobs in a country whose credit status has been rated as junk.
During the period, Sibanye Gold has confirmed its desire to retrench 7 400 permanent mine employees at its Beatrix West and Cooke operations.
The job losses come on the back of a whopping 70 000 job cuts in the mining industry since 2012.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), with more than 300 000 affiliate members, has expressed grave concern over this upheaval in the mining sector.
“NUM is shocked and disgusted after it received Section 189 notice from Sibanye Gold to retrench 7 400 permanent employees at Beatrix West and Cooke Operations,” said NUM spokesman, Livhuwani Mammburu.
He said the number excludes close to 3 000 contractors who are also facing retrenchment.
AngloGold Ashanti and Bokoni Platinum mine are also retrenching.
Mammburu described these retrenchments as “irresponsible.”
“The jobs bloodbath is a clear attack on the working class, communities and the poor, a direct attack on mine workers in particular,” he said.
Unions have also criticized the handling of the issue by Mines Minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, who has also been implicated among government officials allegedly “captured” by the beleaguered Gupta family.
Nevertheless, the Chamber of Mines said it was not campaigning for the minister to step down.
“However, as you are aware, we have very serious objections to a number of things he has done. The levels and quality of consultation are less satisfactory than the industry had with ministers Ngoako Ramatlhodi, Susan Shabangu and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka,” said a spokesperson.
The mining sector, a key contributor to the country’s gross domestic product, has suffered turmoil in recent years, most fatally in 2012 when police opened fire on striking workers at a mine owned by Lonmin.
Some 34 miners were killed on the day but in total, 47 people died including two police officers and two security guards during weeks of tension.
– CAJ News