South Africa: Joint Operations Centre Set Up to Quash Platinum Belt Unrest

analysis

In the face of escalating community unrest on the eastern limb of the platinum belt, the Minerals Council and the police plan to set up a joint operations centre in the region. Data suggests the area is in a state of worsening social turmoil amid sky-high unemployment and conflict over resource control.

The eastern limb of South Africa's platinum belt, which curves up from Lydenburg in Mpumalanga before cutting an arc across a swathe of Limpopo, is in flames. It may sit upon some of the planet's richest platinum group metals and chrome deposits, but the wealth that has been generated from beneath the soil has clearly not been spread widely enough.

The data speaks eloquently for itself. In April last year, Reuters reported that over the course of 2016, 2017 and the first three months of 2018, the region had been hit by more than 400 incidents of social unrest that had an impact on mining operations. These included 225 roadblocks, 107 illegal marches, and 40 wildcat strikes.

Things have since gone from bad to worse, even as the platinum industry itself has turned a corner to become more profitable while averting a strike, with the biggest producers signing...

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