Johannesburg - South Africans have yet to be exposed to the real horrors perpetrated by mining companies that wantonly breached the conditions of their licences.
This was stated yesterday by SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande when the party issued a stern warning to mining companies that continued to short-change their employees while their executives raked in millions of rand in “obscene salaries”.
He stopped short of calling for a revoking of existing licences of firms that flouted their conditions of mining or placing a moratorium on the approval of new permits.
“The country has not really exposed the horrors of what happens in the mining sector. Enough is enough for mining bosses that have got away with murder. Those companies that do not meet those conditions must not be given those licences.”
Nzimande was speaking in Joburg following the SACP’s central committee meeting.
Barring SACP deputy secretary Solly Mapaila and the leaders’ red garments on the podium, it seemed to be an all-government affair.
Nzimande, who is also the Higher Education Minister, was flanked by his deputy Jeremy Cronin, the Public Works Deputy Minister.
Also present was Cronin’s Public Works boss, Thulas Nxesi, and the party’s national chairman, Senzeni Zokwana, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
They decried mine bosses’ non-compliance with the Mining Charter. “This year is the deadline for mining corporations to fully comply with the conditions of their mining rights licences.
“According to our information, not a single mining house will have complied. We want licences to be decisive,” Nzimande said.
He blamed the protracted, crippling strike in the platinum sector and the accompanying violence squarely on the three affected companies – Anglo American Platinum, Lonmin and Impala Platinum.
“Underpinning this continuing tragedy (the vicious spate of murder of non-striking workers) is the profit-maximising monopoly of the platinum sector.
“The three transnational corporations – Amplats, Lonmin and Implats – have avoided centralised bargaining in the sector, flirting with vigilante unionism and competed among themselves on remuneration of workers. All of this has resulted in chronic labour market instability.”
Quizzed on why the SACP was not addressing these issues at government level, Cronin conceded they were partly responsible for some of the non-compliance.
“We are critical of the failure of the amendment of the Minerals and Energy Act.
“We fail collectively to ensure that key amendments are done. We are saying that if we are to be serious about the second radical transformation, this must be the thing we push ahead with,” said Cronin.
He was at pains to emphasise that compliance should include the broader transformational agenda, including empowering mining communities and improving mining safety – rather than simply meeting BEE quotas.
Cronin defended the deployment of SACP members into the government, saying the fact that there was a “unique reality of overlaps” did not mean that the leaders were not independent. - The Star