JOHANNESBURG. — President Jacob Zuma yesterday convened a meeting in Pretoria of all role players in the mining sector in a bid to stabilise the sector. “This meeting represents our aspiration to reinstate the necessary confidence in the mining industry development, which remains a key pillar of the economy,” Zuma told the participants.
The meeting came at a critical time when the global as well as the local economy broadly and the mining industry in particular are confronting major challenges. “We meet under difficult conditions. The global economy is experiencing a downturn which is posing a challenge for South Africa’s economy, which is a net exporter of key mineral commodities,” Zuma said.
Recent GDP figures released by Statistics South Africa show that the economy contracted by 1,3 percent in the second quarter of the year. Zuma called this situation a global phenomenon and not unique to South Africa. The sustained depressed commodity prices and the risk of job losses necessitated urgent intervention by all stakeholders in the country, Zuma stressed.
Last week, the government, mining sector and trade unions signed a declaration which seeks to explore all options to save jobs.
This includes the government’s intervention to addresses the underlying causes of retrenchments by mining companies.
“These interventions will assist our collective initiatives to support the sustainable growth and development of the mining industry,” Zuma said.
Mining remains a critical component of the economy and a backbone of the South African economy.
“As government, we have taken the lead in acting decisively to ensure that the sector remains viable and continues its positive contribution to the economy,” said Zuma.
Since the implementation of the Framework Agreement for a Sustainable Mining Industry which was entered into by organised labour, organised business and the government last year, South Africa has seen a steady improvement in peace and stability in the sector.
“This has restored confidence in the mining industry, and inspired our ability as a country, to address complex challenges facing us.
“However, we acknowledge that there are still some challenges that require us to accelerate development in a collaborative manner,” said Zuma.
Zuma urged all role players to commit to the full implementation of all the elements of the Framework Agreement.
He emphasised the need for mining companies to be responsive to the needs of the communities within which mines operate. — Xinhua.