Employment and Labour Minister, Thulas Nxesi, has appealed to all parties in the ongoing Sibanye Stillwater wage strike to find a settlement.
The Minister emphasised that the government is not a party to the dispute but has an interest in seeing those involved finding a speedy solution to the problem as it has an impact on the economy and the country’s reputation.
“Whenever a strike goes extraordinary long, we are concerned about its impact on the economy, its impact on the image of the country,” he said.
The Minister was addressing the media on Wednesday evening following a meeting with union representatives where he was briefed on progress in resolving the ongoing strike in the Sibanye Stillwater gold division.
The meeting included the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni and Sibanye Stillwater.
Following the meeting, Sibanye reported that the parties have agreed to undergo an immediate Section 150 process to seek a resolution to the strike.
Minister Nxesi undertook to expedite commencement of this process and the parties were encouraged to continue engaging with a view to finding a solution.
“We are appealing to all the parties to do everything in the interest of their members, in the interest of the shareholders and in the interest of the country to find a settlement. Both parties have agreed that they are starting the second reconciliation on Thursday,” he said.
The Minister said that he is convinced that their existing labour relations framework is robust and effective enough and has sufficient mechanisms.
“This is why they came in and we made a number of processes which we think must be engaged in order to facilitate in resolving the dispute.
“Our fear is that this should be addressed before the situation degenerates further, and we don’t want to see the violence that we saw in Marikana. But what is very clear, it’s not about money, it’s not about the affordability, it has to do with the attitudes,” the Minister said.
The Chairman of the Sibanye Stillwater board, Dr Vincent Maphai, stated: “I appreciate this intervention by the government and it is reflective of how, since 1994, South Africa has managed to resolve difficult and complex situations through negotiations”.
The Sibanye-Stillwater employees affiliated to mining unions National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) are demanding a R1 000 salary increase backdated for 3 years.
They have vowed to camp outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria until President Ramaphosa intervenes.
Source: South African Government News Agency