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Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .

The state will never be able to run mines

By unknown | Jul 14, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

NATIONALISING mines is a joke. Productivity depends on costs, labour, safety and extremely hot underground conditions. To balance all these and be on target to meet demand is a huge task.

It is not easy to work underground where the temperatures can be higher than 32ºC. Miners spend more than 20percent of the time trying to cool down and traveling underground.

If the government takes over it will be worse. This simplistic view of nationalisation has the potential to close the industry down. Management and workers are under pressure to ensure that production targets are met.

People lose jobs when there is trouble in the mines because labour constitutes 40 to 60percent of the cost. Is it bad to lose jobs during a recession ? That depends on the rate of loss and what is preserved . It is better to lose a few jobs and save the industry than it is to keep jobs and dwindle into debt.

When the cost of everything, including electricity and oil rises, a few things can be done to improve profitability. Reduce labour costs and put pressure on employees to spend more time working. You also need to implement effective and efficient production plans.

The government is incapable of doing this. The unions, which are in bed with the ruling party, are very forceful, labour laws are tight and there are many mining accidents. Nationalising the mines will hurt our exports, production will be halved and more people will lose jobs.

Only a select few will benefit. Just look at Eskom, the SABC and SAA . Manage state assets better and rid the government of corruption , maybe then we could consider nationalisation.

Sefu Sekgala, Tshwane


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