Pretoria: Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant today met with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) representatives in Rustenburg in a bid to defuse the tensions at mines in Marikana.
The meeting was a sequel to the troubles that have hit the North West platinum area and the subsequent deaths of 34 miners at Lonmin Platinum mine last week. Prior to this, 10 people, including two police officers, died in other incidents at the mine.
“The meeting was cordial. AMCU briefed us on their side of the story and the issues they are confronted with in the mines,” Oliphant said.
“We resolved to continue talking and we will involve other unions in a bid to find lasting solutions.”
The minister was optimistic that a solution would be found not only for the problems in Marikana, but for the other mines in the platinum belt that might be experiencing problems.
The minister’s delegation comprised the department’s Director General Nkosinathi Nhleko, Deputy Director General Les Kettledas and provincial head Andile Makapela. AMCU, an affiliate of the National Council of Trade Unions, was represented by its President Joseph Mathunjwa, with his high ranking officials as well as NACTU President Joseph Maqhekeni and general secretary Narius Moloto.
Oliphant is part of the Inter-Ministerial Committee delegated by President Jacob Zuma to look into the events surrounding the Marikana tragedy.
Yesterday, President Zuma visited Marikana, where he spoke with the striking miners and listened to their concerns.
“This is painful to all of us. It is not acceptable for people to die where talks can be held. But I do feel your pain and have come personally to express that. I am certain that the Commission of Inquiry will get to the bottom of what happened here,” said Zuma.