Replacing Ramatlhodi could not have come at a worse time for mining industry: UASA

Replacing mineral resources minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi with Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane at this critical time for the mining industry is probably one of the worst decisions by President Jacob Zuma yet‚ Andre Venter‚ spokesperson of trade union UASA‚ said on Wednesday.

“This move could neutralise the agreements reached at the Mining Summit‚ and the built up positive energy for the forthcoming Mining Phakisa could be severely impacted upon.

“After South Africans have been left despondent by the devastating developments in the mining sector‚ with thousands of jobs that could soon be lost through retrenchments‚ poor economic growth‚ low commodity prices‚ and other factors‚ new hope was flaring up after Zuma’s intervention via the Mining Summit and the pending Mining Phakisa scheduled to resume next month.”

Venter said‚ “Key to all these developments was the role played by Ramatlhodi‚ who was instrumental in bringing sustainability and relative job security back to the industry.

“He helped stabilise our vital mining sector after the platinum strike and got the stakeholders together to develop a strategy to revitalise the industry and regain investor confidence.

“Just when there seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel and with a high level of expectancy among stakeholders‚ Zuma announces a reshuffle in his cabinet‚ appointing Ramatlhodi as new public service and administration minister‚ and replacing him with Zwane‚ a member of Parliament‚ who previously served as MEC in the portfolios agriculture and rural development as well as economic development‚ tourism and environmental affairs in the Free State provincial government.

“What the mining sector needs now is stability and signals of value to investors so that the sector can grow again.

“The appointment of a new minister to this vital portfolio at this juncture is nothing but extremely unfortunate‚” Venter said.

“UASA’s contention is that this could be one of the worst decisions ever taken by Zuma.”