THE government was shocked yesterday when mining giant Anglo American Platinum announced it would cut 14 000 jobs.

“It is regrettable that the company consulted with my department less than seven days ago, despite the major socio-economic ramifications of its decision,” Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said.

Amplats announced the possible job cuts earlier yesterday, as part of a major restructuring at its strike-hit South African operations.

Four shafts will be closed and an unsustainable mine sold.

Most of the affected jobs are in Rustenburg.

Shabangu said Amplats had approached her department last year to say it was facing problems and considering restructuring. She said the company was told to discuss any plans with the department first.

The minister said her department regretted the company’s conduct in making such an important decision that would affect the economy.

She said miners and their families would be severely affected as there was little other work in Rustenburg.

“It’s a grim future for those workers,” Shabangu said.

The company’s plans to move fired workers to other industries, such as bricklaying, were not sustainable.