Gwede Mantashe Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

JOHANNESBURG - Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe on Thursday, called on Impala Platinum (Implats) to reconsider its decision to cut 13,000 jobs, saying that the company must consider different options of saving jobs and keeping their operations working.

Mantashe lashed out at Implats for announcing a planned jobs bloodbath over two years in a strategic restructuring process, saying that the company's actions were "careless" and "reckless".

Mantashe said that his department was still at the beginning of an engagement with Implats in which it was encouraging the world's second largest platinum miner to consider different options of saving jobs and keeping their operations working.

"The ministry, once more, urges Implats to reconsider its actions and return to the process we all agreed upon. Now is the time to work collectively and make our country prosper, and desist from behaviour that is careless and without foresight," Mantashe said.

"We have consistently maintained that only an industry that does not regard workers as a valuable asset behaves in this manner. This is worst disconcerting considering the high unemployment rate in the country, as reflected in the latest [Statistics South Africa] StatsSA survey."

Implats announced on Thursday that was slashing the number of its mines from 11 to six and cutting its future production to 520,000 ounces of platinum as it would reduce the head count from around 40,000 of employees plus contractors to 27,000 workers. 

"The restructuring process may potentially have an impact on 9,000 direct jobs and 4,000 contractor positions over the implementation period," Implats said.

"While labour rationalisation is inevitable in a restructuring process of this nature, due care will be taken to ensure that forced job losses are minimised as far as possible through a range of job loss avoidance measures."

- African News Agency (ANA)