Johannesburg: Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu says the root causes of the Marikana tragedy must be urgently addressed to prevent the recurrence of such an incident. Speaking at the New Age/SABC breakfast briefing in Johannesburg this morning, Shabangu said the Marikana issue should not be viewed in isolation from all the other shortcomings of the mining industry.
“The unfortunate occurrence of the Marikana tragedy some two weeks ago has added to the many historic ‘black spots’ in our country, especially in the mining industry,” she said.The minister stressed the need for the mining industry to have a conversation about the underpinnings of such a problem so it can anticipate other potential challenges, and recommend a concrete plan of action that will ensure responsible action from all stakeholders.
On 16 August, 34 people were killed and 78 others sustained injuries in clashes with police at Marikana. Prior to this, 10 other people, including two police officers, were killed. President Jacob Zuma has since instituted an Inter-Ministerial Task Team and Commission of Inquiry to look into the matter.
Shabangu said the industry still had much to do to transform itself, and had to intensify the pace of achieving transformation. “In South Africa, we have worked very hard with mining stakeholders to create an enabling environment for the mining industry to be competitive, whilst simultaneously ensuring that there is meaningful transformation.
“From our side as government, we will continue to project our country as a mining destination. We need to see equity in the industry. We need to build a mining industry that cares, a mining industry that is proud to be part of the transformation agenda of South Africa, because transformation is about the bottom line and not just a compliance issue,” she said, adding that it was imperative to build a mining industry with which investors wanted to be associated.
Shabangu said mining companies must plough back into the communities in which they operated. “Mines must ensure that local procurement takes place to enhance economic activities and expand opportunities in communities.”