The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president, Joseph Mathunjwa has expressed his concerns regarding Minister Mosebenzi Zwane’s lack of action at news of imminent job losses in the mining sector.
Mathunjwa, who was addressing media at the Hyattt hotel on Thursday about retrenchments and the state of the economy, said Amcu would not be taking these job losses lying down, and would propose measures to force companies to make decisions that do not only favour maximum profit, but also invest in the country.
“Mines are quick to blame workers for loss of production,” said Mathunjwa.
“Workers are plunged in difficulty already. Job losses don’t just affect membership; they affect people’s livelihoods,” he added.
President Mathunjwa called for a “revolution” in the mining sector, against retrenchments. “The whole mining sector should be shutdown; rearrange insolidarity as mine workers are still marginalised,” he said.
The Amcu president also noted that the massive retrenchments are mainly the result of government and business not being in sync.
He said Amcu does not take Minister Zwane and his department seriously, and since the minster took up office, there has been no direction in Zwane’s camp.
The president of Amcu expressed that he could not put his faith in a human being, an employee. He said South Africa’s issues of the economy were bigger than Zwane himself.
“Last time I saw Zwane was in 2015 after the Lily Mine fatalities, where he promised R200 000 to the families. Maybe after this briefing we will have some invite from the Department of Mineral Resources,” he said.
“We are in crisis in South Africa, who does he [Zwane] consult? It’s good that the Department of Mineral Resources and the Chamber of Mines are fighting; they have been in bed with each other since ‘94. We don’t need to be in the middle.”
“Business is politics, you can’t divorce the two, but that doesn’t suggest we sell our souls by joining a political party,”he added.
On the Mining Charter
Amcu has had the same bad experiences as the Chamber of Mines with the DMR. The union claims they were never consulted about the revised Mining Charter.
The Amcu president called on the Minister to hold a forum with all stakeholders to agree on the goals and objectives of the charter.
“The MPRDA is clear on what is defined as historically disadvantaged – so how can you “naturalise” non-South Africans? Now we are having a global meltdown, what are they trying to achieve with the Charter in this climate? I am skeptical.”
Mathunjwa also said Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was not welcome at the 5th Commemoration of the Marikana Massacre.
“Yesterday we had a meeting with the widows and members of Marikana and they have made it clear Cyril Ramaphosa is not welcome at the Koppie on the 16th.”
President Mathunjwa said if Ramaphosa wants to come to Marikana, then he should arrange another date with the widows and not piggy back on the meaningful day by Amcu.
“Ramphosa does not care, said Mathunjwa. I don’t think it is out of a genuine and sincere heart. Ramaphosa believes Marikana would be a good place for him to campaign for presidency.
“In future, if he wants to visit Marikana then he can consult the relevant doors,” he concluded.