Open letter to Reverend Mautjie Pataki Secretary of the South African Council of churches (SACC) calling on the SACC to intervene in the looming mining sector crisis from Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP (UDM President) (17 January 2013)

I write this letter to ask for the South African Council of Churches’s (SACC’s) intervention in Anglo American’s plan to restructure its platinum mines, which will result in the retrenchment of thousands of mineworkers. I have over the past few days said that this will have devastating consequences for our people and the South African economy at large.

There is widespread belief that these retrenchments are nothing other than a calculated strategy to get rid of the mineworkers who were involved in the wildcat strikes in the mining sector last year. There is also belief that this is an attempt to purge all the workers who have left the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) for rival unions. Apparently, this is to reward NUM for its docility and pliant conduct by protecting its status as the biggest union in the mining sector.

The South African Council of Churches played a leading role in the resolution of the industrial dispute in the mining sector last year. We are therefore calling on the SACC to again intervene in the looming retrenchments in the platinum sector

We further call on you to request a meeting with President Zuma to ask him to put an end to the crisis in the mining sector, as the threats of mineworker retrenchments were brought to the attention of Government as early as last year.

The SACC should request the South African Chamber of Mines to share with the public the extent of the losses the mines incurred during the wildcat strikes. A committee of experts should then be tasked to scrutinise and verify the figures for the public in order to dispel any suspicion of hidden agendas.

In the event that the mines incurred losses during the period in question, we should propose that Government gives bailout packages to the sector. However, the sector should be expected to pay back these packages as soon as its financial position improves.

Kind Regards,
Bantu Holomisa, MP
UDM President