Johannesburg - The Chamber of Mines accepts President Jacob Zuma's call for quick action to be taken on the living and working conditions of mine workers, it said on Thursday.
The chamber was responding to Zuma's state-of-the-nation address earlier on Thursday evening.
“This is an area where as a sector we urgently need close collaboration with all spheres of government as we deal with the issue of integrating mining communities in relation to our commitments in social and labour plans,” president of the chamber Mike Teke said in a statement.
Zuma highlighted the responsibilities of both the mining companies and unions when addressing labour matters.
The chamber said it was committed to the Mining Peace Accord and the Framework Agreement that Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe facilitated.
“As the president said, as leaders we need to act responsibly and lead responsibly protecting both the interests of the businesses we run and the obligation to the workers”, said vice president of the chamber, Khanyisile Kweyama.
Zuma acknowledged the mining industry as a key driver of economic growth and employment during his address.
He said plans were underway to ensure that the process of obtaining a mining licence would be completed in under 30 days.
Teke said the move demonstrated government's commitment to providing regulatory certainty which would encourage new investments in the sector.
Zuma said the sector would get tax incentives for employing the youth.
“As the Chamber we have encouraged our members to constructively engage in this process.
“We are proud as a sector on the progress we have made in relation to transformation, skills development and safety, but at the same time we acknowledge the depth of our country's social challenges and recognise that more still needs to be done,” Kweyama said. - Sapa