Workers at ArcelorMittal picket outside the entrance of the plant near Saldanha on the West Coast. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency
Cape Town - The ANC and its alliance partners in the province marched on the ArcelorMittal plant in Saldanha to demand the firm rethinks its decision to close down in the new year, even as the Department of Trade and Industry scouts around for a replacement investor.

The leader of the ANC’s interim provincial committee, Lerumo Kalako, said, “The purpose of the march is to highlight the plight of the people affected. People must understand that it is not just the 900 or so people who are workers there. Those people have families and they have a whole community around them which will also be affected.”

Interim committee member and Stellenbosch councillor Ronalda Nalumango said, “We have observed a trend by most companies in SA to embark on tactical liquidation as a temporary relief, and later re-emerge in different forms. This is a ploy to bypass the legislative labour relations instruments we tirelessly fought for.”

The alliance announced that another march on ArcelorMittal next Thursday will be in solidarity with the people of Saldanha Bay, “to submit a memorandum against the short-sighted profit-driven decision to impoverish the community of Saldanha”.

Bianca Makanya, a Saldanha Bay municipality councillor, previously said: “It’s a terrible Christmas that the people in Saldanha are facing.

“Not only are the actual workers affected, but the ripple effect of the closure will affect everyone.

“This is the problem with privatisation. The government built this factory and people were happy because they believed they would never be in this situation of mass unemployment again.

“When they sold it to ArcelorMittal that was privatisation and you know businesses don’t care what happens when they leave,” said Makanya.

Hundreds of workers were picketing outside the entrance of the plant on Thursday morning.

Workers at ArcelorMittal picket outside the entrance of the plant near Saldanha on the West Coast. ArcelorMittal’s South Africa unit said it would close its steel operations at Saldanha Works because it could no longer compete in export markets. Hundreds of people are expected to lose their jobs. Video: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)
The ArcelorMittal plant in Saldanha. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency
The ArcelorMittal plant in Saldanha. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency
Workers at ArcelorMittal picket outside the entrance of the plant near Saldanha on the West Coast. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency
Workers at ArcelorMittal picket outside the entrance of the plant near Saldanha on the West Coast. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency
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