Amplats chief sorry, but urges miners to work

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I wish to apologise to the employees of Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and the readers for comments I made in a Business Day article on Wednesday. My choice of words was inappropriate and a poor way to describe the extremely challenging situation we find ourselves in.

Further, the seemingly insensitive timing of bonus scheme announcements has been determined by JSE reporting regulations coinciding with the prolonged strike.

I want to reassure your readers that I care deeply about the impact of this strike on the lives of our employees, their families and communities. The situation is dire.

However, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union’s demand for a minimum basic wage of R12 500 a month remains unaffordable as it would increase our costs by about R4.5 billion a year.

After a year of negotiations, we have been unable to reach a settlement and we remain far apart in our positions. We know that the majority of our employees want to come back to work and they face intimidation that is preventing a large number of them from coming back. We condemn the intimidation.

Our employees have the right to know the offer that is on the table, it is for this reason we have gone directly to them with the offer. We continue to urge our employees to come back to work.

Chris Griffith chief executive,

Anglo American Platinum

Divergent results of India, SA elections

May is likely to be a defining month for two of the Brics countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

India has emphatically embraced change to a business-friendly government of the Bharatiya Janata Party led by Nahendra Modi, who by all accounts has won a landslide victory against years of Congress Party government. One of his election planks was to tackle India’s deeply embedded corruption.

This month has turned out differently here, if not predictably, regarding the election. The electorate has chosen more of the same – of the same cancer of corruption whose tentacles permeate all the way from the presidency to every area of society.

This country is destined to carry the freedom struggle albatross around its neck for many years to come as the populace, through loyalty, will not easily jettison the party who gave it to them.

It is a pity that the ANC is so suspicious of the free market, instead treading the path of more regulation and left wing policies – the main cause of the country’s pathetic record regarding growth and employment.

It will be interesting to international investors as to who occupies the post of finance minister in the new administration. Pravin Gordhan will be a hard act to follow.

Peter Hill

St Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal

Time for City Power to help Eskom cut use

We read “mining companies forced to cut their electricity use by 20 percent”; “the only users likely to have reduced their consumption were those with standard load reduction contracts with Eskom” and then, the usual “it needed voluntary savings of 10 percent from residential customers” (Business Report, May 16.)

When and where is City Plonkers (Power) going to come to the table to assist? How many street lights do you see when driving around that are on during the day – hundreds?

Perhaps your reporter Londiwe Buthelezi could provide an answer to what the cost of electricity being used for one street lamp fitted with a twin bulb is per hour? This will assist and guide us in a way to then work out the cost/waste generated by the above management and its board of directors, both of which are incompetent.

A Mills

Broederstroom

Ideological differences or racial polarisation?

Eye-catchingly, the light-orange highlighted letter in the middle of the Opinion & Analysis section (Business Report, May 12) has a heading “White business cuts back to survive”. Below it, editor Ellis Mnyandu’s article has a heading “SA making progress but racial polarisation a hindrance”.

Both the letter and the article make valid points. Yet I wonder if black and white South Africans mistake many ideological differences for “racial polarisation”? I believe most ordinary South Africans voted based on the example set by political parties rather than their manifestos.

The example set by the ANC since 1994 has been that of wealth distribution, be it grants, housing, water and so on.

Their biggest failure (not counting the Nkandla scandal) has been corruption. Yet corruption is a negative side-effect of an attempt to distribute wealth.

This term, the ANC has promised to intensify distribution, with a focus on land and private business.

The DA sets its example in the Western Cape, where it achieves the best-run province and municipalities year after year. It shuns the “perks” that the “ministerial handbook” allows it, and openly and harshly disciplines party officials who step out of line.

The DA wants to grow the economy by creating more small to medium-sized enterprises, and by growing existing private businesses by creating a (much more) business-friendly environment.

Although the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has not yet been able to set an example, its leader, Julius Malema, has a reputation for his extreme views on distribution. His call for distribution without compensation was not only a vote-catching catch-phrase, but is a well-known ideal.

White South Africans are attracted to the private business model of the DA, simply because the private sector is the only space left to them where they can not only survive, but grow and contribute.

Mostly, these white South Africans are attracted to the ideal of limitless wealth creation, and appalled at the prospect of their hard-earned assets being “distributed”.

It seems black South Africans are attracted to the ANC and EFF because it is almost impossible to create wealth from nothing – the legacy of apartheid left them without assets or skills. Once they do acquire assets and skills through distribution, then they can start to create wealth for themselves.

For South Africa to move forward, both the ANC and the EFF should start kicking fully grown birds (those “formerly disadvantaged” South Africans who have started creating their own wealth) out of the nest.

J van der Merwe

Sandton


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