The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has expressed deep concern regarding the current consideration by the Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane to put in place a moratorium until the finalisation of the current court challenge of the recently gazetted Mining Charter by the Chamber of Mines. The Union are of the view that such a moratorium will negatively affect our members through job losses, since there will be no Section 11 approvals taking on change of ownership and new mining or prospecting rights. All of this is taking place while we are faced with enormous job losses in various operations amounting to close to 20 000 affected employees.
The proposed actions by the Minister, unfortunately, emanate from his very own court agreement of withdrawing the implementation of the Charter with the Chamber of Mines, thus the union will be submitting to the Department to desist from implementing the envisaged moratorium with immediate effect. As the move will definitely be found wanting by the court of law, as it deviates from the principles and objects of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act 2002.
The current impasse over the implementation of the Mining Charter has reached alarming levels, thus calling on the Government either through the Presidential Mining Consultative forum or other multi-stakeholder initiates to convene an urgent meeting of all stakeholders in order to find an amicable solution that includes inclusive transformation of the industry with employees and communities. The silence from the Public Investment Corporation and Industrial Development Cooperation has major shareholders in various Chamber member companies is shockingly problematic, as they seem to be passengers in this whole saga
The Union is of the opinion that the “current cowboy style battle” between the Industry and the Department of Mineral Resources will, unfortunately, have three guaranteed victims – the employees, communities from both host and labour-sending areas and the South Africans at large. The NUM will work around the clock in order to ensure that all existing platforms of dialogue between parties are exhausted, with the aim of saving jobs and bringing stability to the Mining industry.
We again reiterate our earlier stance on supporting the much-needed mining industry transformation instrument, which the union and its members feel embodied in the current withdrawn Mining Charter. Employees cannot continue to be victims of retrenchments, low wages and fatalities, while government and industry “slug it out” in court.
Luthando Brukwe, the Head of Transformation for the National Union of Mine Workers