Mining companies are looting the country‚ says Mathunjwa

11 August 2017 - 10:56 By Jan Bornman
Joseph Mathunjwa.
Joseph Mathunjwa.

Trade union leader Joseph Mathunjwa has accused mining companies of looting the country and pouring their money into foreign investments rather than the domestic economy.

Mathunjwa‚ president of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu)‚ said the country shouldn't be surprised about the situation it found itself in.

He was speaking at a Business Day Dialogues event in Johannesburg on Friday morning ahead of the five-year anniversary of the Marikana massacre in which more than 40 people were killed in 2012 during protests.

Amcu led the protests against platinum mining giant Lonmin.

"The state of the economy and its effect on the people on the street is effectively explained by the high level of inequality in South Africa‚" he said.

Mathunjwa said he and the union were worried about "the job blood bath" in the gold sector and talk of retrenchments‚ all while mining companies were "looting" the country.

"There is no rational logic to explain the process of disinvestment in the South African economy‚ considering that the same companies have bought platinum refining plants and mines in the USA‚" he said.

"There is a clear process of off-shore investment influenced by numerous factors‚" Mathunjwa said.

He described the issue of retrenchments as "a broader social ill affecting the South African economy".

"Retrenchments is probably the worst thing that can happen to workers. It strips them of their income‚ their status in society and ultimately of their dignity‚" he said.

Mathunjwa said the union wanted to see "wage-led growth‚ meaning that people have decent jobs‚ earn decent wages and be able to spend their money to stimulate the economy".