DA warns of mining job losses

Johannesburg - Threats by expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema to make mines ungovernable will result in job losses, the Democratic Alliance said on Friday.

“The fact that this may happen quietly and over time, in the form of new investments that are not made, does not make it any less certain,” spokesman James Lorimer said in a statement.

Miners mob Julius Malema. File photo: Bongiwe Mchunu. Credit: INLSA

“Diminished investment will mean less inflow of new money that mining constantly requires to maintain itself and to grow. That means some jobs will end when mines close and will not be replaced.”

Lorimer said there were currently 500 000 people employed in the country's mining industry.

On Thursday, Malema promised to make all mines in the country ungovernable.

“We are going to lead a mining revolution in this country... We will run these mines ungovernable until the boers come to the table,” he told workers at the Aurora mine in Grootvlei, Springs.

“We want them to give you a minimum wage of R12 500. These people can afford R12 500. Mining in South Africa amounts to trillions of rands.”

Some South African mines were doing relatively well at the moment, Lorimer said.

“But they need to do better than average in order to offset the perceived risk of increased government pressure, either from nationalisation or new resource rent taxes.”

Lorimer said the recent violence at Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, North West, increased the risk.

“While Malema's criticism of a leadership vacuum is accurate, his prescription to make mines ungovernable is self-serving and destructive,” he said.

Workers at the world's third-largest platinum producer went on strike earlier this month, demanding a monthly salary of R12 500. They had vowed not to return to work until their demand was met.

The strike turned violent and 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed between August 10 and 12. On August 16, 34 miners were killed in a confrontation with the police. - Sapa