DA: Ramatlhodi must continue talks

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Ngoako Ramatlhodi1

Independent Newspapers.

Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi. Picture: Timothy Bernard.

Johannesburg - Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi should persist with talks aimed at ending Amcu's strike in the platinum mining sector, the DA said on Monday.

“Government must continue to be part of efforts to end the strike by bringing parties towards a mutually beneficial solution,” Democratic Alliance spokesman James Lorimer said in a statement.

“This is no time for the minister to run and hide.”

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union members at Impala Platinum, Lonmin, and Anglo American Platinum have been on strike since January 23 demanding a basic monthly salary of R12,500.

The union has so far rejected an offer from the platinum companies that would bring workers' cash remuneration to R12,500 by July 2017.

The union and producers were not immediately available to provide an update on progress in the negotiations.

Ramatlhodi last week set up an inter-governmental team to help resolve the wage dispute between Amcu and the platinum producers.

On Saturday he told reporters in Irene, Pretoria, that he would walk away from the talks if the parties failed to find each other.

Government could take the warring “parties to the river but can't force them to drink”, he said.

Both parties had been negotiating in good faith and government had done enough to mediate, particularly in the past two weeks, he said.

Lorimer said the strike, which has cost workers around R9.6 billion in lost wages and producers around R21.7bn in lost revenue, was a crucial test of Ramatlhodi's leadership.

“The minister's decision to abandon these negotiations will undoubtedly compromise them, our economy, as well as the minister and his department's credibility in future.”

Ramatlhodi's spokesman could not be reached for comment.

The DA recommended that government reconsider and reform spending on mining royalties.

“The administration of royalty reinvestments in mining communities through an independent and capacitated agency would create a mutually-beneficial environment for both mining companies and their employees.” - Sapa


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