Mantashe’s promise not to turn anyone from DMRE’s door may bring unwanted visitor

Joseph Mathunjwa, president, AMCU

SOUTH African mines minister, Gwede Mantashe, may be asked to keep a promise earlier this month not to turn down anyone at his department’s door by none other than long-time foe, Joseph Mathunjwa, the recently re-elected president of the Association of Mineworkers & Construction Union (AMCU).

Speaking to members following his re-election at the weekend, Mathunjwa said he would demand the keys to any mines that might be closed.

“No mine must shut down because it is not making profit,” he is quoted by City Press to have said. “If they want to close the mine, then we are taking it. No mine should be mothballed because of super profits, and for any mine that does so, we will be taking it over,” he said.

“We will go to the department of mineral resources and tell them that because they are our servants, we want that [mining] licence. We cannot be held ransom by monopoly capital. We will take back what belongs to us. We do not owe anyone an apology,” he said.

Mantashe said in a media roundtable on September 13 that he wanted his recently restructured Department of Mineral Resources & Energy (DMRE) to become responsive to the mining and energy industries.

“We want a department capable of dealing with issues,” he said. “Nobody should not be stopped at reception because you don’t have an appointment. We are a service to the public,” he said.

Mantashe and Mathunjwa clashed in the Nineties when they were both officers at the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) over the handling of money paid to members related to a jobs fund. It resulted in Mathunjwa’s dismissal from the NUM from which he then established AMCU.

Speaking at the elective conference, Mathunjwa said: “I’m not a great leader but I’m good”. The elective conference came after South Africa’s labour registrar earlier this year said he intended to de-register militant AMCU for breaking rules on how unions operate.



  1. Joseph, if you are “good” why don’t you let everyone know how much you earn and make out of AMCU? Then take some of your and aMCU’s funds and take some proper risk and investing a few mines instead of leading workers down a “garden path” of promises and expectations. Taking the keys to closed mines might be the lesson you need to realise the damage you and AMCU have done to the mining industry. It’s time you stop with the rhetoric and grow up man, the country needs people who understand how to solve problems, not create them!

  2. You may not be turned away. But there will be no one to talk to.
    Dmr HQ is like a mining ghost town.
    No one there most of the time. And also rather plan your visits for after 10. That seem to be the popular time for officials to arrive at work.

  3. So I just hope mathunjwa and his ” ice man” Jimmy Gama and co. are realising the damage they have done to the mining industry. This union since they are the majority union in North West patitulary rustinburg more than 200000 thousand of jobs had been lost, here in caltoville they strike 5 months and come back after the strike with nothing. Now as a result of that some shaft in driefontein closed and also in f.s bitrix…now more than 5000 thousand job are about to be lost in lonmin, I m waiting for baba mathunjwa to tell us how much Neal forenam is earning a year oh oh shame 😷

    • It hurts me to say it. But I do not think AMCU should be blamed for all the job losses.
      Driefontein and Beatrix are Sibanye mines. Sibanye has a short term vision on SA mines. They take the high grade and run. These mines were always on the cards to close prematurely. Look out for Rustenburg as well. DMR better look out for these guys and their ability to rehabilitate in future.

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