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North West - North West Premier Thandi Modise will lead a provincial delegation on Thursday to meet Anglo American Platinum management on the proposed closure of four shafts.
“Premier Modise will use the opportunity to share the concern of the provincial government regarding the consultation processes, impact of job losses on employees and their dependants,” spokesman Lesiba Kgwele said.
“The North West Province, known as the platinum province, is responsible for 94 percent of South Africa's platinum. The province might be the worst hit by Amplats proposal as 13 000 of the jobs are in the Rustenburg area.”
On Tuesday, workers embarked on a strike and refused to go underground following the company's announcement that about 14 000 jobs could be lost by its plan to stop production at four of its shafts in Rustenburg.
The Amplats announcement came after Harmony Gold said it was suspending operations at its Kusasalethu mine in Carletonville to review operations after several illegal strikes.
Kgwele said the Modise would “interrogate how these could be mitigated” if the proposal proceeds.
Meanwhile, Anglo American Platinum miners have returned to work and abandoned their illegal strike on Wednesday night, the National Union of Mineworkers said.
“The workers returned back to work last night (Wednesday) after we agreed during the day to put an end to the strike,” spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said on Thursday.
“There are still a few workers that have not returned to work especially in the Khomanani mine but we are confident that they will return today (Thursday). Our next step is to engage in talks with Amplats.”
Amplats spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole confirmed on Thursday that workers returned to work on Wednesday night.
“I can confirm that our employees have clocked in and have proceeded underground to commence with their shifts at our Rustenburg operations and in the north of Pilanesburg, all is normal,” she said.
Further details were not available.
Seshoka said the NUM would try to persuade the company to not go ahead with the retrenchments.
“All of us must remain open to engage on this issue,” he added.
Modise is expected to meet the mining company on Thursday afternoon at the Invest North West Offices in Rustenburg.
Meanwhile, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union is expected to brief the media on its response to Amplats' restructuring announcement on Thursday morning at 9am. - Sapa