South Africa: Union Calls On Minister to Step in At Violence-Hit Richards Bay Minerals

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The government must intervene without delay as failure to do so might lead to the death of a working mine and increase unemployment, Fedusa spokesperson said.

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) has called on the Minister of Mineral and Energy Resources, Gwede Mantashe, to urgently intervene at violence-struck Richards Bay Minerals (RBM), which is on the verge of being closed.

Earlier this week, Rio Tinto, RBM's controlling shareholder, shut down the operation for an indefinite time following community violence. RBM mines dunes for heavy minerals, which are used to make paint.

Riefdah Ajam, Fedusa's acting general secretary, sent Mantashe a letter on Thursday calling for him to intervene. Fedusa has more than 500,000 members and its affiliated union, the United Association of South Africa (UASA), represents 410 workers out of 1,800 employees at RBM.

"We are pleading with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy... to urgently assist in this matter and stop the lawlessness that could result in RBM becoming a sunset mine. The local economy in Richards Bay is at stake," she wrote in the letter.

Nathi Shabangu, Mantashe's spokesperson, said he wasn't yet aware of Fedusa's letter and so couldn't comment. However, sources close...

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