South Africa's mining industry will come through its current labour problems and re-affirm the country's position as a globally competitive destination for investment, African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) executive chairperson Patrice Motsepe said on Monday.
Motsepe was speaking to Mining Weekly Online after his company delivered first-half results that bucked the recent downward trend among South African miners, reporting an 8% rise in headline earnings to R3.74-billion for the year to June.
"Particularly pleasing is the performance from ARM's platinum division, which stands out against a string of poor results from the platinum industry in general as well as underperformance by this division within ARM in recent years," Business Day's Brendan Ryan wrote on Monday.
Motsepe told Mining Weekly Online that his company was busy tackling the issue of worker housing that the industry had inherited from apartheid, adding that the industry had to partner with the government and municipalities to provide its workers with acceptable accommodation.
His comments echoed those of Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who told the Mining Lekgotla in Johannesburg last week that the industry could no longer remain a prisoner of "archaic practices that have not kept up with modern productive methods".
"The democratic conditions in which the industry is now operating require that it re-skills the labour force and rewards them commensurate with their contribution," Motlanthe said.
"To move forward, the industry must break with its undesirable past by making workers feel valued for their contribution as wholesome human beings that must have decent jobs and sustainable livelihoods, including proper housing, recreation and time with families."