Johannesburg: The government has no intention of micro-managing the mining industry.
Instead, the mining industry must work towards building relations in order to bring about the much needed stability in the sector that is key to economic growth and job creation.
Speaking at the Mining Lekgotla at the Sandton Convention Centre on Tuesday, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said while the industry has been faced with major challenges that were brought about by labour unrest, it needed to emerge with practical and sustainable solutions to resolve the crisis.
Motlanthe said this when addressing hundreds of captains of industry and union leaders.
“As such, government has no intention to micro-manage mining companies. Save for the ever-present room for improvement, our legislative framework is sufficient for regulating the environment within which the industry operates.
“All role-players in the mining sector must engage meaningfully to build relationships based on trust and mutual symbiosis necessary to bringing stability to the sector and advancing the South African economy.
“Each partner brings unique insights, understanding and inputs to the table, which augurs well for finding practical and sustainable solutions to the challenges the sector experiences,” he said.
Motlanthe’s words comes not long after he played a mediating role in getting the industry – the government, unions and mining companies – to develop and sign a framework aimed at bringing sustainability to SA’s mines.
Motlanthe said the mining industry, which accounts for 6% of the country’s Growth Domestic Product and generates 60% of all export revenue, needed to find new and innovative ways in order to improve production, human resource development and training.
“Mines employ 2.9% of South Africa’s economically active population, which translates into more than half a million direct jobs.
“To be successful at turning this industry around requires conscious effort to make structural changes to the economy and for us to become more innovative in our quest for improving productivity levels,” he said.
He said that while the industry remained a prisoner of past policies, effort was needed to ensure that the industry recovers from its more recent challenges.
“No amount of employment equity plans and empowerment transactions have ventured to tamper with this spinal essence of the industry.
“The democratic conditions in which the industry is now operating require that it re-skills the labour force and rewards them commensurate with their contribution.
“To move forward, the industry must break with its undesirable past by making workers feel valued for their contribution as wholesome human beings that must have decent jobs and sustainable livelihoods, including proper housing, recreation and time with families,” the Deputy President said.