Johannesburg - There is still much to be done to address problems in the mining industry, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Monday.
“To that end, the improvement in productivity, innovation, human resource development and training is an absolute imperative,” he said in a statement prepared for delivery.
Motlanthe was speaking at the Bench Marks Foundation Conference in Kempton Park, Johannesburg.
He said there was a need to transform the migrant labour system in a manner that would make workers feel valued for their contributions and be respected, wholesome human beings with decent jobs.
“We must also ensure that mining plans are comprehensive and include adequate planning for sustainable human settlements with the requisite amenities and infrastructure.”
He said workers were still faced with many challenges, despite the positive changes introduced by organised labour, organised business and the government through new policy and legislation, Motlanthe said the mining industry had for years relied on a discriminatory legislation that enabled it to make “super-profits” drawn from the “super-exploitation” of unskilled workers and migrant labour systems.
“These problems cannot be addressed by any one group acting alone; they will require collaborative partnerships by all stakeholders... with each partner bringing unique insights and better understandings to the table.”
The Framework Agreement for a Sustainable Mining Industry adopted in July was just one of the initiatives required to drive the industry forward.
He said the framework identified both short-term and medium- to long-term measures required to address the problems of mining.
Ensuring the rule of law, peace and stability, and the provision of proper and sustainable human settlement infrastructure in the Rustenburg platinum belt were identified as some of the short-term measures which required immediate action.
“Our observation is that all parties have so far lived up to their commitment to ensure that peace and stability prevails during strikes and other protests relating to labour disputes,” Motlanthe said.
He told delegates that both the government and business had committed to avail financial resources to ensure provision of proper and sustainable human settlement infrastructure in the Rustenburg platinum belt. - Sapa