Mr KP Motlanthe
Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa
Private Bag X1000,
MINING TALKS NEED TRANSPARENCY AND PROPER COMMITMENT FROM GOVERNMENT
Your efforts to engage with mining houses and trade unions to resolve issues negatively affecting the mining sector in South Africa are well documented; this includes your attempt to broker a peace pact between the various role-players.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) have however abstained from signing the agreement until their demands which, we understand to include the below, are met:
- Reinstatement of dismissed workers.
- Retraction of Minister Blade Nzimande’ statement in which he called Amcu a vigilante union; and
- Dropping of a labour court case by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in which it seeks a reversal of Lonmin’s decision to recognise Amcu as the majority union.
These demands do not appear to be unreasonable or impossible to meet, and it begs the question: why is the negotiating team dragging their feet?
All role-players must engage in these kinds of negotiations in the most transparent manner possible and they must have both their hands open to show that nothing is hidden behind their backs. In order for any mediator to gain the trust of all the role-players; you cannot have your union background or affiliation colour your views and thus compromise your peace-making efforts.
If your negotiation team refuses to, or claims that it is unable to, meet Amcu’s demands, one is tempted to believe that you are using the old Trojan Horse tactic to influence the outcome of the negotiations in favour a certain role-players.
FAILURE OF MINISTERS ON YOUR TEAM TO ADDRESS BURNING ISSUES
If you are indeed serious about finding a sustainable solution to the challenges facing the mining industry, we advise that you visit the compounds of Anglo-Gold Mines at Vaal Reef where dismissed workers are made to live.
The conditions under which they are accommodated are inhumane. Their compound is barricaded with barbed wire as danger-zones and all the kitchen equipment, such as stoves, have been removed by the company.
This situation was reported, in a 14 June 2013 letter (attached for your ease of reference), to some of the Cabinet Ministers who form part of your negotiating team and they have up to date not acted.
How can Government engage in good faith in these mining talks if it treats issues such as human rights abuses by simply ignoring the worker’s expressed concerns?
Advocate ML Mushwana – Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission