With Implats’ announcement that it would consider abandoning its new R11bn Leeuwkop platinum mine, unless it could redesign it as a mechanised mine, is bad news for South Africans who are desperate for work, especially from nearby communities.

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) is of the view that “go-betweens” are not the way to go. As former members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) – still smarting from the loss of NUM’s status as the strongest union – they have a petty interest in ensuring that this dispute is never resolved. There is also an element of the ruling party elite, as BEE deployees, who are hindering progress.

The strike has gone on for too long and inevitable retrenchments are looming. With a clear understanding of the plight of mineworkers, the UDM urges the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and the management of Implats, Anglo Platinum and Lonmin to give face-to-face negotiations another try.