It's do or die for SA as mines threaten to slash jobs
The Times Editorial: We are in trouble. The coming days, weeks and months will be difficult for South Africa. If we fail to rise above our differences and find solutions, the number of people without work will double and the effects will be felt by everyone.
Yesterday, Graham Briggs, CEO of Harmony Gold, wrote an open letter to his workers and other stakeholders appealing to them to save the mine. He said the continuing strike could force Kusasalethu mine to close, putting 6000 employees out of work.
He said the company has 60 days in which to find a solution.
The job losses would also hit thousands of miners' dependants.
Briggs was writing as another major miner, Anglo American - which owns Amplats, the world's biggest platinum producer - is expected to announce, probably today, whether it will close a number of shafts because of soaring costs and falling profits.
If Anglo decides to pull out and sell its stake we will be in deep trouble. Our economy, which has not been able to create sufficient jobs, cannot afford to lose valuable investors.
The mining sector remains our economic backbone and it would be prudent for President Jacob Zuma to intervene directly before he finds himself with a revolution of the disaffected on his hands.
This newspaper has warned that the casual approach of politicians to threats to jobs other than their own puts us on a road to ruin. And it seems that the unions, some of which are in bed with the ruling party, have forgotten that they are relevant only if there are workers for them to represent.
We must face the reality that strikes in major sectors such as as mining and farming, and government lethargy in dealing with them, send a stay-away message to foreign investors. South Africa needs to have a hard and honest conversation with itself.
Do we want to create jobs or not?