South Africa reassures investors


4 September 2012

The recent violence at the mining town of Marikana is not a reflection of the business environment in South Africa, says the inter-ministerial committee established to deal with tragedy.

Thirty-four people were killed in clashes with the police at Marikana near Rustenburg in South Africa’s North West province on 16 August. Prior to this, 10 other people – including two police officers – were killed in nearly a week of fighting between rival worker factions.

“We would like to reassure all stakeholders and the international community that mining operations continue unhindered in other parts of the North West province and throughout the country,” the committee said in a statement on Monday.

The government remained in control of the situation and law and order continued to prevail, it said.

“The country continues to fully support direct investment, and appropriate incentives and the legislative framework are in place to give confidence and predictability to investment decisions and security of tenure.”

The committee said the Marikana tragedy had not affected South Africa’s ability to attract investors.

“As government, we are doing all in our power to make sure what happened does not happen again.

“We would like to emphasise the inextricability of stability of investment and the seamless implementation of the Mining Charter with particular regard to social and labour programmes.”

The committee said more work still needed to be done in the area of social investment in the country’s mining communities and in improving the living conditions of mineworkers to mitigate the unfavourable material conditions that gave rise to tragedies such as Marikana.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, who has been tasked with dealing with the Marikana labour dispute, has been meeting with the different labour unions active at the mine.

She has also met with platinum and gold producers, the National Union of Mine Workers and the Chamber of Mines in an effort to find solutions to the instability.

Following the Marikana tragedy, President Jacob Zuma instituted a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the events and circumstances leading up to the outbreak of violence at Marikana. The commission has been given four months to complete its work and report back to Zuma.