Hard balancing act for Mantashe in mining rights

Mineral Resource minister Gwede Mantashe.
Mineral Resource minister Gwede Mantashe.
Image: Thulani Mbele

I found Minister Gwede Mantashe’s threat of withdrawing the mining rights that were granted to Sibanye Stillwater interesting.

I could not blame him as every attempt has been made to intervene between protesting workers, who will not settle for anything less than their demand for an across-the-board R1,000 monthly salary increase, and the mining company that is not prepared to offer more than R850. 

After every bargaining effort has failed to reach an amicable agreement, the minister has threatened to withdraw the company’s mining rights if the company does not accede to the miners’ demands.

But this becomes a lose-lose situation, where all the miners lose everything – their employment, what they earn presently, the ability to provide for their families and their pensions. The company will be forced to close down and walk away with whatever they have accumulated over the years.

Who will be the biggest losers in this situation? With our frightening levels of unemployment in the country, both these warring parties must allow constructive reasoning to prevail, and reach a decision to save a situation that could bring untold suffering to many people, and many regrets that can never be reversed.

Cometh Dube-Makholwa, Midrand

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