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Can the new mining minister help end the platinum sector strike?

by , 27 May 2014

The platinum sector strike is now into its fifth month. Despite talks restarting last week between the platinum producers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), the strike continues. Today, data showed that the strike had a severe impact on economic growth in the first three months of the year. With a new mining minister appointed, can Ngoako Ramatlhodi make any difference to the situation? Let's take a closer look…

Ngoako Ramatlhodi plans to mediate on strike talks

Today, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, the new mining minister, said he will play a role in mediating in the “crippling platinum miners’ strike,” reports Fin24. He also said that the government need “to start treating the AMCU with respect”.

The mining minister says that as soon as he’s up to speed on what’s going on, he will mediate, adds Fin24.

Mr Ramatlhodi also said that “mining companies had not done enough ‘to address the well-being of workers,’” says BDLive. He was referring to the terrible living conditions of miners around the mines.

The new mining minister’s focus is to try and reform the mining industry, note Mining Weekly. Mr Ramatlhodi wants all concerned to “’pull in the same direction’ for a sustainable mining sector”. He thinks this is crucial to move South Africa on and to meet the government’s objectives in the National Development Plan.

A Labour Court judge is currently mediating talks

After talks broke down following a revised offer by the platinum producers, a Labour Court judge waged in, says Bloomberg. The judge took the unusual step of offering to mediate between the two sides. The talks began last Wednesday.

The strike, which began on 23 January, has had a devastating impact on South Africa’s economic growth for the first quarter. GDP dropped 0.6% over the three months.

Time will tell if indeed Mr Ramatlhodi can help with his mediation. And if he deals with any of the other issues facing the mining sector.

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Can the new mining minister help end the platinum sector strike?
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