Investors in South Africa’s mining sector require stability and enforcement of the law, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said in Pretoria on Wednesday.
Addressing reporters after a lengthy meeting attended by senior officials of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), and its rival National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Motlanthe said he hoped sanity would prevail in the sector.
“Investors are not interested in this document [the framework agreement for a sustainable mining industry]. They are interested in a stable mining industry which operates within the framework of the law and is predictable,” he said.
“This document is a starting point. It gives us a plan to ensure that the industry is positioned correctly so that investors find it attractive.”
The document was signed by NUM deputy president Piet Matosa, Chamber of Mines’ vice president Mike Teke, Federation of Unions of SA general secretary Dennis George, Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, and Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu, among others.
Amcu abstained from signing the Motlanthe-brokered agreement, asking for time to seek a mandate from its constituencies.
The peace pact was aimed at resolving the issues bedevilling the mining sector. Motlanthe said he hoped Amcu would sign soon.
“They requested that they would want to get a mandate to sign [from members]. They are not going to canvass on the content. That has been agreed on,” he said.
“They will revert back to the secretary of this forum ASAP. They say they want time to go back to their members.”
Asked how much time Amcu needed to consult its constituencies, Motlanthe said he expected the union to revert “sooner than yesterday”.
He said the union had not presented any preconditions for signing the pact.
“We wanted a working document which addresses the core problems in the industry and also to remove irritants. There is no conditionality about it,” he said.
“They didn’t set any preconditions. In the meeting, Amcu said they have nothing against the framework. The document contains all the input from stakeholders, Amcu included, so it is their document as much as it is ours.”
Senior Amcu officials, led by president Joseph Mathunjwa, attended the talks held at the Sefakgo M Makgatho presidential guesthouse. Wednesday’s summit was a follow-up to a similar conference held in June.
Motlanthe said the framework did not spell any punitive measures.
“It is an implementation roadmap which commits that all stakeholders are going to travel the full distance together to ensure that what has been committed to is given effect,” he said.
Motlanthe said all parties, including Amcu had agreed on the content of the framework.
He said future meetings would be held to monitor progress on its implementation and any problems, as they arose.
President Jacob Zuma has tasked Motlanthe with leading talks between unions and mining companies.
The industry has been plagued by strikes and violence, especially in the Rustenburg platinum belt.
Last year, 34 miners were shot dead and 78 were wounded on August 16 when police opened fire on them while trying to disperse a group gathered on a hill near Lonmin’s platinum mine.
In the preceding week, 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, died in strike-related violence.