Ayanda Mdluli
2 minute read
13 Mar 2014
6:00 am

CCMA, Chamber of Mines at each other’s throats

Ayanda Mdluli

An allegedly off-the-record interview with the Chamber of Mines' (COM) chief negotiator criticising the CCMA, published at the weekend has done little to calm South Africa's platinum sector.

FILE PICTURE: Miners. Picture: Michel Bega

The talks with sector giants Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum, and Lonmin in Rustenburg are now mired in a mudslinging COM negotiating on behalf of the companies and the CCMA.

Workers in the platinum belt have lost close to R4 billion in wages while the companies have lost R12 billion.

The workers are demanding a R12 500 minimum basic wage for entry level underground workers while the companies have only offered increases ranging from 7 to 9%

In the report, the COM’s Chief Negotiator Elize Strydom says the CCMA caused the breakdown in talks between AMCU and the platinum mining companies.

During the interview, which the Chamber claims was off-the-record, Strydom lambasted the CCMA negotiators for not having knowledge of mining or economics, and also questioned the logic of the CCMA when handling the negotiation process.

In a statement, the chamber’s CEO Bheki Sibiya said it was regrettable that an off the record discussion with a journalist was reported and apologised to the CCMA for the embarrassment caused by Strydom’s remarks.

He assured the CCMA the COM would engage directly with it “regarding any maters directly relating to the negotiations”.

Laura Mseme, a spokesperson at the CCMA has called on the Chamber of Mines to either retract comments by its chief negotiator or face the consequences.

She said “we regard it as an undesirable strategy during such a fragile and complex process… We specifically wish to put on record that at no stage have any such

concerns been raised with the CCMA, and we consider it alarming that an organisation such as the Chamber of Mines could utilize a public forum to express its opinion without having at any point raised these issues with the CCMA”.

Also, the CCMA claims that the Chamber has breached the confidentiality of the issues that are dealt with in the negotiation process in an “unethical manner”. “All other parties present had the maturity and respect to keep confidential”, she added.