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Growing calls for Gwede Mantashe to revoke Sibanye-Stillwater mining licence

Striking Sibanye-Stillwater miners at the Union Buildings want President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in their salary talks deadline with management. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Striking Sibanye-Stillwater miners at the Union Buildings want President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in their salary talks deadline with management. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 25, 2022

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Pretoria - One OF Cosatu’s affiliated unions, the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) has joined growing calls for the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe to revoke the mining licence of Sibanye-Stillwater.

This followed the three-month wage dispute between the mining company and labour unions in the gold sector.

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Samwu’s call came while Cosatu is holding its central executive committee (CEC) in which the Sibanye-Stillwater wage dispute is top of their agenda. Cosatu is expected to address the media tomorrow about the CEC and its intentions to interfere in the dispute. Like Samwu, the labour federation is also expected to add pressure on President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Cabinet to intervene in the wage dispute.

Yesterday, members of the Cosatu affiliate, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) continued their protests outside the Union Buildings demanding that Ramaphosa intervene.

Their protest action coincided with the official state visit of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Pretoria yesterday. Workers at the Sibanye-Stillwater mine have been on strike since February due to the “greedy employer” refusing to pay their demand for a R1 000 pay increase.

Samwu general secretary Dumisane Magagula said of great concern to his union was that instead of conceding to the demand by workers, management at the Sibanye-Stillwater made the situation worse by paying CEO Neal Froneman R300 million.

“It is for this reason that we support the call by NUM that Sibanye-Stillwater’s mining licence be revoked. It cannot be correct that instead of negotiating with workers in good faith, Sibanye-Stillwater management takes a decision to retrench workers. The threats by Sibanye to issue Section 189 notices to mineworkers is nothing but a ploy to discourage workers from demanding decent and living wages in the mining industry, Magaguja said.

He added: “The decision by Sibanye-Stillwater to reward the CEO for denying mineworkers a salary increase by paying him this ridiculous and exorbitant amount is a direct provocation and a spit in the faces of mineworkers who on a daily basis risk their lives underground to sustain the inflated salaries and lifestyles of the mine’s executive management.”

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Samwu has also come out in support of ongoing strike actions by Nehawu at the University of South Africa (Unisa) and South African Revenue Service (Sars).

“As Samwu, we encourage our members and municipal workers, in general, to stand up, and show solidarity with workers at Sibanye-Stillwater, Unisa and Sars. We further encourage municipal workers to join pickets and demonstrations organised by both Nehawu and the NUM. These are times wherein workers should demonstrate their collective unity against the class enemy being capital and the new entrant to this category being the state.”

Reacting to the allegations, Sibanye-Stillwater spokesperson James Wellsted expressed surprise at Samwu’s involvement in their wage dispute and questioned their legal standing on the matter.

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Wellsted said the union bosses’ have noted comments by Mantashe and unions over calls to revoke their licence rights but said they were willing to talk about the matter, adding “remarks and uncertainty were not beneficial for the investment in the country”.

He also revealed that the parties would meet at the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on Monday for conciliation talks on the wage dispute.

Pretoria News

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