The South African government has called for speedy resolutions and stability in the mining sectors as strikes against low pay are escalating.
" The mining sector is quite important in the modernization of South Africa, even today continues to determine the historical trajectory of our nation in many ways and will continue to shape the future we seek to build, " the country’s Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said at the 2nd annual mining conference in Johannesburg on Tuesday. According to the National Union of Mineworkers(NUM), some 90,000 of South African construction workers in the mining industry went on strike on August 26, demanding a 13 percent pay rise this year. The NUM, however, rejected the offer, saying, “We reject it with the contempt it deserves; we think that it is a serious insult to the working poor. "
Motlanthe criticized the mining employers over creating unfair working situation for miners, saying, “Over the years the mining industry supported by a raft of discriminatory legislation has developed methods of making super - profits by relying on the super - exploitation of unskilled workers. ”
He also stressed that the mining industry “must break with the undesirable past by making workers feel valued for their contribution,” referring to the last year deadly strikes in the mining sector in which over 50 people were killed at Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana. The deputy president called the annual mining conference a “good platform” for all sides to address the ongoing problems. “This meeting is another opportunity for the key role players in the mining sector to share and find solutions to the problems that afflict this sector," Motlanthe stated. South Africa’s mining sector represents 6 percent of the country’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with having a labor force of more than half a million workers. It also generates 60 percent of total export revenues.