Zuma appoints ministerial team to boost mining industry

President Jacob Zuma hopes to boost the fortunes of the mining industry with the launch of a ministerial crack team. (AFP)

President Jacob Zuma hopes to boost the fortunes of the mining industry with the launch of a ministerial crack team. (AFP)

"Our country needs a stable and growing mining industry," Zuma told reporters in Pretoria on Thursday.

"Mining has been a key feature of this country's economy for more than 130 years and it remains the cornerstone of our economy."

The president's move follows continued unrest in the mining sector, which has been marked by wildcat strikes and a union standoff between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in the platinum-rich North West.

His reaction also came two days after Statistics South Africa released the latest growth figures, revealing 0.9% annualised gross domestic product growth for the first quarter of 2013.

"We need faster growth. Without faster growth we cannot succeed in reducing unemployment, poverty and inequality," said Zuma.

According to Zuma, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will lead the ministerial team – which also includes the following ministers and their tasks:

  • Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will reassure foreign and domestic investors of the country's commitment to the mining sector
  • Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant will facilitate smooth labour relations in the mining sector to promote order and stability
  • Mining Minister Susan Shabangu will support policy implementation and operations in the mining industry – including the improvement of miners' living conditions.

Job creation in mining
The president also issued a direct call for fair and expeditious settlements of wage negotiations to improve job retention and creation in the mining sector.

?Zuma said government was taking all measures possible to provide support and stimulus to South Africa's mining industry.?

"I urge business, organised labour and government to continue engaging constructively," he added.

"Everything we do must be designed to strengthen and stabilise the sector and ensure that it serves all stakeholders."

The president also called on all citizens to work with government in stimulating economic growth and in assuring that South Africa is "promoted in every possible way".

Nickolaus Bauer

Nickolaus Bauer

Nickolaus Bauer is the Mail & Guardian's jack of all trades news reporter that chases down stories ranging from politics and sports to big business and social justice. Armed with an iPad, SLR camera, camcorder and dictaphone, he aims to fight ignorance and pessimism through written words, photographs and videos. He believes South Africa could be the greatest country in the world if only her citizens would give her a chance to flourish instead of dwell on the negativity. When he's not begging his sub-editors for an extra twenty minutes after deadline, he's also known to dabble in the occasional poignant column that will leave you mulling around in the depths of your psyche. The quintessential workaholic, you can also catch him doing sports on the weekday breakfast show on SAfm and presenting the SAfm Sports Special over the weekend. Read more from Nickolaus Bauer