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Mining Forum declared productive


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Old 09-09-2015, 02:25 PM   #1
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Safe Mining Forum declared productive

Pretoria - Government has called on everyone in the sector to play their part in building a sustainable mining industry and grow the South African economy.

On Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma convened a meeting of the Mining Sector Consultative Forum, in Pretoria, which he declared as fruitful, productive and successful in the quest for solutions to challenges facing the mining sector.

The meeting was attended by a number of Ministers and Deputy Ministers, organised labour and organised business. The Forum received progress reports on the implementation of the signed Framework Agreement.

The President said key priorities in this term of government were the revitalisation and rebuilding of distressed mining towns and labour sending communities.

The President took note that the global and local economy, particularly the mining industry, are confronting major challenges.

“The global economy is experiencing a downturn which is posing a challenge for South Africa’s economy, which is a net exporter of key mineral commodities.

“Recent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures released by Statistics SA show that the economy contracted by 1.3% in the second quarter of the year. It is our collective responsibility to resolve the challenges as the mining sector is strategic to the South African economy,” he said.

Protests, illegal mining

With regards to ensuring the rule of law, peace and stability, President Zuma said stakeholders have agreed to continue strengthening the monitoring capacity of any strike and protest action in affected mining communities, and to support initiatives to deal with illegal mining.

“The multi-stakeholder Mine Crime Combating Forums have handled 4 059 reported incidents, which have resulted in arrests of 761 perpetrators. 61 cases are currently on the court roll. 92 cases have been finalised with a guilty verdict and six with not guilty verdicts,” he said.

The President said stakeholder forums have been established to deal with illegal mining in Mpumalanga, Gauteng and the Free State, with a forum set to be operational by November 2015 in the Northern Cape.

He said the forums consist of mining companies, unions, and government through the South African Police Services (SAPS), South African National Defence Force (SANDF), Departments of Mineral Resources and Home Affairs, as well as Municipalities.

He said the Department of Mineral Resources has initiated a programme to close and rehabilitate mines without owners to address the issue of illegal mining.

“In terms of the management of retrenchments, mining companies are required to submit notices to the Department of Mineral Resources and the Department of Labour, in respect of Section 52 of the Mineral Petroleum and Resources Development Act and section 189 of the Labour Relations Act.

“Stakeholders have recommitted to implement the Declaration signed on 31st August 2015 to save jobs and alleviate the impact of job losses in the industry,” he said.

Better lives for mineworkers

With regards to improved living and working conditions of mineworkers, President Zuma said in the 2014/15 financial year, more than R419 million was spent on the ring-fenced budget for informal settlement upgrading.

“This has been done in prioritised mining towns in the Free State, Mpumalanga and North West provinces. Overall, over 5 000 units have been delivered in the 15 prioritised mining towns.

“For the 2015/16 financial year, the Department of Human Settlements has aimed to improve this delivery figure and has ring-fenced R1 billion that is anticipated to deliver approximately 19 000 housing opportunities in mining towns,” he said.

The President also said the Departments of Trade and Industry, Economic Development and Small Business Development are facilitating both large and small scale industrial projects in the 15 mining towns and in the labour-sending areas. - SAnews.gov.za
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