Labour conditions must improve, Shabangu tells mining indaba
South Africa will not nationalise mines, but it needs the industry to help improve labour conditions to prevent further deadly unrest, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu has said.
Speaking at the Mining Indaba 2013 – the first since the ANC unambiguously ruled out nationalisation – Shabangu said mineral development cannot happen unless capital is invested by the private sector.
“The ANC’s elective conference of December 2012 also reconfirmed that nationalisation is not an option for our country,” she said.
The ANC resolution in this regard should bring certainty to the mining industry.
“I appeal to you not to try to resuscitate this debate in different forms and guises, which may invariably be marred by differently unhelpful interpretations.
“I would like to affirm that our government is fully conscious of the reality that mineral development cannot happen unless capital is invested by the private sector. There is room for both private and public returns. Indeed, these are interdependent.”
Shabangu called on the private sector to play its role in improving work conditions to prevent a repeat of the Marikana disaster in which 34 miners were shot dead.
“It is the remnants of this historical legacy of the migrant labour system, poor housing and living conditions, high levels of illiteracy and low skills levels that inevitably contributed to Marikana,” she told delegates.
She said a lasting solution needed all affected parties to address the “underpinning structural and historical elements”.
“This requires mining stakeholders to work together in partnerships in order to obviate any prospects of the events of last year repeating themselves. The country and the industry cannot afford another Marikana.”