SA Government to Blame for Platinum Crisis

By Mvusi Ngubane    18-May-2013 13:50 UTC+02:00

The South African government’s lack of leadership skills, accompanied by its failure to understand the social and political activities currently underway in the mining sector are to blame for the brewing crisis in the platinum belt, report economists.

Due to its recent inability to comprehend the recent strategies taken by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), the government’s indecisiveness over actions to be taken in order to settle the mining crisis in both the Marikana incident and the Anglo America Platinum issue has been labelled as political paralysis.

According to economists, the overwhelming growth of Amcu – a large rival of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) which has affiliations with Cosatu and country’s ruling party – has been largely neglected. They have referred such negligence as having “blown up” in the government’s faces.

“The more they want to underplay the local and global significance, the more they come across as being out of touch with the issues,” stated Pan African Capital’s chief economist, Iraj Abedian. Abedian further stated that the government had underestimated the scale of the recent incidents at both Lonmin’s Marikana and Anglo American Platinum.

Representing the cabinet of ministers at a media briefing on Thursday was Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, who reported that a task team had been appointed to root out the political and economic causes of unrest in the mining sector following the Marikana incident last year.

“The commission is still making those inquiries,” she explained and went on to insist that it was important the cabinet did not reveal anything about the matter yet, stating that no pronouncements should be made “before the commission has completed its work”.

However, Molewa did acknowledge the country’s state of unrest, referring to the situation as “not just affecting Rustenburg from the economic point of view [but also] the entire country”.

Not only does the South African platinum sector’s problems create uneasy terms for the nation, but the current instability may also prove to be detrimental in relation to South Africa’s international image.

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