Mining and agriculture must change to survive, says Ramphele

Speaking at the mining indaba in Cape Town on Wednesday, the Gold Fields chair and struggle stalwart said: "It's time to think differently … the mining industry has no option but to make a fresh start [if it hopes to survive]."

Ramphele said it was important for business government and labour to heed the wake-up call of the unrest and the "bombs in South Africa waiting to go off".

Many workers in the mining sector have been striking since last year August. 

In one of the most controversial tragedies last year, 44 people died at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine after violence during a labour strike, 34 of which were miners who were killed after shootout with police at the mine. The incident resulted in an inquiry into what happened at the mine.

Meanwhile, workers at Anglo American Platinum embarked on a two-month wildcat strike after the company said it wanted to close four of its shafts, shedding about 14 000 jobs. Government has since been in talks with the company and workers in an attempt to alleviate the effects.

The miner's profit also plummeted by 180% for the year ended December 31 2012 from a R7.9-billion gain in 2011.

Ramphele added on Wednesday the government needed to produce high-quality social infrastructure, education and a good legislative environment, while business needed to ensure that its actions took into consideration the needs of communities around the mine and the labour sourcing areas.

Sustainable job creation
She said labour also needed to move away from short-term wage goals and understand the importance of sustainable job creation.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant on Monday announced a new minimum wage for farmworkers of R105.

The new rate, R36 more than the current minimum wage of R69 a day, was due to take effect from March 1 after countrywide public hearings on a new minimum wage for the agriculture sector was prompted by violent protests by farmworkers across parts of the Western Cape.


At the indaba Ramphele also took a swipe at black economic empowerment, saying it failed to realise its objective of empowerment of the masses, instead it resulting in the empowerment of a few. 

Ramphele was rumoured to start her own political party after reports that she thought stronger opposition was needed when President Jacob Zuma was re-elected ANC president at the party's elective conference in Mangaung in December. – additional reporting by Sapa

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Two dead in new ANC KwaZulu-Natal killings

A Mtubatuba councillor and a Hammarsdale ANC Youth League leader were shot yesterday near their homes

Inside Facebook’s big bet on Africa

New undersea cables will massively increase bandwidth to the continent

No back to school for teachers just yet

Last week the basic education minister was adamant that teachers will return to school on May 25, but some provinces say not all Covid-19 measures are in place to prevent its spread

Engineering slips out of gear at varsity

Walter Sisulu University wants to reprioritise R178-million that it stands to give back to treasury after failing to spend it
Advertising

Press Releases

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

DriveRisk stays safe with high-tech thermal camera solution

Itec Evolve installed the screening device within a few days to help the driver behaviour company become compliant with health and safety regulations