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Mining Consultative Forum notes progress

Mining Consultative Forum notes progress

Mar 31, 2014

On Thursday 27 March 2014 Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe led a quarterly meeting of the Mining Sector Stakeholders’ Consultative Forum in Pretoria, which was convened to assess progress in the implementation of the Framework Agreement for a Sustainable Mining Industry.

The meeting was attended by representatives of labour, business and government. Labour was represented by trade union federations: FEDUSA and NACTU as well as unions: NUM, UASA and Solidarity.  Business was represented by the Chamber of Mines and the South African Mining Development Association, and government was represented by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu.

The parties signatory to the agreement all agreed that good progress has been made amid some challenges that still need to be addressed. The parties were pleased with the progress made and reaffirmed their commitment to continue working together to stabilise South Africa’s mining industry.

The Framework Agreement identifies both short-term and medium to long-term measures required to stabilise South Africa’s mining sector and place it on a sustainable footing. The short-term measures identified in the Framework Agreement include ensuring the rule of law is upheld, peace and stability and the provision of proper and sustainable human settlement infrastructure in the North-West platinum belt.

The meeting noted that since the signing of the framework agreement there has been relative peace and stability in the mines and that both labour and mining companies have been conducting their affairs within the ambit of the law. The Mine Crime Combating Forum was launched in August last year and trade unions and mining companies are cooperating with the South African Police Service in ensuring that there is peace and stability in the mines and surrounding communities. Government has also taken steps to improve case management and capacity in order to speed up the processing of all cases related to violence in the mining areas.

There is improved cooperation between stakeholders in the mining communities and authorities regarding the provision of evidence for cases of violence, intimidation, murder and malicious damage to property. Both government and business have committed financial resources and land to ensure provision of proper and sustainable human settlement infrastructure in the North-West platinum belt.

A technical team is working with the local municipality to determine the full scope of the project and address some of the immediate issues including installation of bulk infrastructure to ensure the provision of water services and sanitation. The meeting noted progress in the ongoing efforts of the mining companies to implement various projects to transform old style hostels into decent living accommodation.

In strengthening labour relations the stakeholders have submitted proposals to address the issue of trade union majoritarianism. A series of training programmes have been conducted in the mines to educate union members on best labour relations practice and workplace relations. The meeting also noted progress in fulfilling some of the medium to long-term commitments include reviewing the migrant labour system, annual assessment of the implementation of the Mining Charter and the re-skilling of workers to achieve competitiveness and sustainable growth of the mining sector.

The parties reaffirmed their commitment to continue working together to achieve long-term stability of South Africa’s mining sector. The parties further agreed to continue supporting the growth and stability of the sector and agreed to take the following steps:

  • Actively engage both local and foreign investors to ensure that SA remains an attractive investment destination
  • Ensure certainty in the legislative and regulatory programmes
  • Inform employees upon receiving emolument garnishee orders
  • Prevention of unscrupulous micro-lenders and reviewing the regulations around salary deductions on garnishee orders
  • Assessment of economic and social conditions in surrounding and labour sending areas
  • Enforce and implement all elements and commitments of the Mining Charter
  • Ensure integration and implementation of Social and Labour Plans and Integrated Development Plans (IDP) in labour sending areas and mining areas

The meeting further acknowledged efforts by stakeholders to engage extensively with the investment community on progress made to ensure strike activity is done within the ambit of the law. The stakeholders also agreed that in order to bring growth and stability to the sector they will need to ensure that efforts are made to resolve industrial action, taking into account current economic constraints.

Press statement: Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe

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