SOUTH AFRICAN miners will march today to the AngloGold Ashanti headquarters in Johannesburg in protest at thousands of job losses.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said the march was against the firm’s announcement earlier this year of 8,500 redundancies at its operations in Matlosana and Carletonville region.
Union federation Cosatu, part of the tripartite coalition with the ruling ANC party, gave its support to the “pushback campaign” and called on all its members to join the protest.
On Thursday the NUM said it was “shocked and disgusted” after receiving notice from another firm, Sibanye Gold, of some 10,000 redundancies.
NUM Sibanye Mining Coordinator Kenneth Buda said 7,400 permanent employees at the Beatrix West and Cooke operations would lose their jobs — along with nearly 3,000 contractors.
On Thursday the NUM Matlosana Region marched to the Anglo-gold — formerly Anglo-American — office in Vaal Reefs, joined by Cosatu deputy general secretary Solly Phetoe.
NUM Matlosana Region Education Secretary said the union would fight the “brutal exercise that shows how the employer values black mineworkers.”
The Bokoni Platinum mine in Limpopo has also threatened to lay off 2,651 directly employed staff, along with about 3,000 contractors.
The minerals and energy sector is the backbone of the South African economy, and the NUM estimates that each mining job supports 10 people.
On Monday the union demanded urgent government action to halt the huge number of job losses which have seen 80,000 people out of work in the past five years with 30,000 more set to lose their jobs.
On Thursday employers’ group the Chamber of Mines threatened yet more job losses if Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane does not back down in a dispute over proposals for post-apartheid transformation of the sector.
In response to a court challenge to the proposed new Mining Charter, the Department of Mineral Resources imposed a moratorium on new mining licenses this week — a move which the NUM also opposed.
The new charter increases minimum black ownership from 26 per cent to 30 per cent.
“This moratorium will effectively freeze investment, prevent many companies from restructuring and may lead to even more job losses in the sector,” the chamber said in a statement.