Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe

JOHANNESBURG – Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe on Monday said that South African mining company Gold Fields was not acting in good faith as it embarks on a massive retrenchment process.

Gold Fields said last week that it was losing R6 million a day since workers affiliated to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) embarked on a strike against retrenchments earlier this month. Gold Fields wants to retrench an estimated 1,100 employees and 400 contractors at its South Deep mine in Gauteng after continued losses for five years.

Mantashe, who met with Gold Fields executives as part of efforts to resolve the current impasse on Monday evening, said that he was dissatisfied with the company's reponse to the retrenchments.

"We don’t believe the company is acting in good faith. They have merely engaged in a tick-box exercise for compliance purposes. This is a disturbing approach, and we remain unhappy with the way the process has unfolded thus far," Mantashe said.

"We continue to urge employers in the sector to be responsible, as we are dealing with people’s lives when we talk of possible retrenchments, and not mere numbers."

Mantashe said the department began engagements with Gold Fields in August to find alternatives to the company’s proposed retrenchment plan.

He also said that it was a matter of great concern when a strike in the sector is prolonged, as this has an adverse impact on the economy. 

African News Agency (ANA)