Johannesburg - All participants in the mining sector have a role to play in bringing about stability, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Tuesday.
“Each role-player must engage in building a relationship based on trust...; each partner bring in an unique contribution to ensure stability,” he said at a three-day mining lekgotla in Johannesburg.
Motlanthe recently brokered a framework agreement with mining companies and trade unions aimed at restoring peace and stability in the mining sector.
All trade unions except the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) signed the agreement, which was reached after 44 people died at Marikana last year in violence in the Rustenburg platinum belt in North West.
Thirty-four mineworkers died when police fired on them on August 16.
Another 10 people, including two security guards and two policemen, died in the preceding week.
Motlanthe said everyone had to work together to bring peace and stability to the mining sector.
Mining companies had a responsibility to ensure workers were accommodated in proper housing.
He said the core of workers were cheap, migrant labourers.
“To move forward, the industry must break with its undesirable past by making workers feel valued for their contribution as wholesome human beings that must have decent jobs and sustainable livelihoods, including proper housing, recreation and time with families.”
He said the democratic conditions under which the industry was now operating required that it re-skill the labour force and rewarded workers commensurate with their contribution.
“The industry must therefore transform itself by focusing on ideas to improve productivity through innovation, human resource development and training.”
Mining companies and workers had a collective responsibility to work together to tackle problems.
“In this regard, government's primary responsibility is to create an enabling environment.”
Motlanthe said government had no intention of micro-managing mining companies.
“Save for the ever-present room for improvement, our legislative framework is sufficient for regulating the environment within which the industry operates.”
A group of people protested outside the Sandton Convention Centre, where the lekgotla was held.
The group, from villages near mining operations, claimed it had not been included in the lekgotla. - Sapa