NUM says 10,000 jobs at risk in SA mining sector

AN estimated 10,000 jobs are at risk in South Africa’s mining industry, according to BusinessLive, a newspaper.

The estimate, made by the National Union of Mineworkers, is based on Section 189 restructuring notices issued by mining companies across the commodity complex. Normally, retrenchments are significantly less than ‘jobs affected’ by restructuring per the notice.

“Close to 10,000 jobs stand to be lost between now and January 2024,” said NUM spokesperson Luphert Chilwane. “This is a huge blow. Our members and workers at large who are about to lose their jobs have nothing to celebrate this festive season,” he said.

“Most companies have cited load-shedding and the continued increasing prices of electricity as reasons behind the section 189a notices. Clearly, for as long as there is still no solution to the electricity challenges, we will continue to lose jobs,” Chilwane said.

NUM also blames Transnet for job losses in the sector, which employs about 400,000 people and is key to the fiscus in terms of tax and royalties.

Sibanye-Stillwater has issued two Section 189 notices since September at its gold and platinum group metals operations affecting up to roughly 6,000 jobs. On Monday, Wesizwe Platinum said it was cutting back staff at its Bakubung mine.

In both cases, the decline in PGM prices was a major factor.

Impala Platinum has also said it is looking at voluntary retrenchments while a report by Bloomberg News last week said Anglo American had discussed job cuts with the government at both its South African units Anglo American Platinum and Kumba Iron Ore.