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South African labour unions shocked at job cuts in metal mining | Coastweek

JOHANNESBURG South Africa -- South African labour unions have expressed shock over platinum producer Lonmin’s recently announced 4,100-job cut plan. The North West-based mining company has confirmed that it was intending to retrench workers at six mines that no longer have ore to reduce expenditure. South African mining companies especially, in the gold sector, have been under pressure recently due to declining gold prices. In February, Sibanye-Stillwater said it planned to cut nearly 6,000 jobs due to financial losses at some of its gold mines. PHOTOS - LONMIN SOUTH AFRICA

South African labour unions shocked at job cuts in metal mining

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- South African labor union expressed shock to platinum producer Lonmin’s 4,100-job cut plan on Tuesday.

National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu told Xinhua that the union heard about the retrenchment today, "Our members have been informed about the plans to cut jobs."

The North West-based mining company has announced that it was intending to retrench a total of 4,100 workers at six mines that no longer have ore to reduce expenditure.

Lonmin’s spokesperson Wendy Tlou said the company would now begin a process to ensure that the retrenchments were in line with the country’s labor laws.

Lonmin’s announcement comes at a time when the company is set to be purchased by Sibanye-Stillwater, the largest individual producer of gold in South Africa and one of ten largest gold producers globally.

Mammburu said "We are worried about these retrenchments happening at a time when Lonmin is being bought.

"What if Sibanye-Stillwater decides to cut more jobs after?"

He said that unions would persuade the company to consider other measures over slashing jobs.

In February, Sibanye-Stillwater said it planned to cut nearly 6,000 jobs due to financial losses at some of its gold mines.

South African mining companies especially in the gold sector have been under pressure recently due to declining gold prices.


South African opposition wants new Parliament
to debate financial crisis at electricity utility

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) on Sunday called for a debate on the financial crisis at electricity utility Eskom after the new Parliament is sworn in.

Parliament "has an obligation to ensure that it works to resolve the challenges that have kept Eskom in the red and threatened to send the country on a financial ruin," said Natasha Mazzone, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises.

South Africa’s new Parliament, the 6th since the end of apartheid in 1994, will be sworn in on May 22 following the May 8 general elections.

The DA will write to the new Speaker, to be elected by Members of Parliament (MPs), requesting a debate of national importance on the unfolding financial crisis at Eskom, Mazzone said.

This follows media reports that contractors working at Eskom’s Kusile Power Station have submitted claims totaling 36 billion rand (about 2.5 billion U.S. dollars) to the financially crippled Eskom.

South African taxpayers, already burdened with rising electricity costs and flatlining economy, cannot be expected to keep pouring billions of rands into the Eskom black hole, even as evidence continues to mount on the entity’s terminal decline, Mazzone said.

The state-run parastatal provides about 95 percent of the electricity consumed in South Africa, but alleged corruption and poor management have brought the utility to the brink of bankruptcy, resulting in constant rolling blackouts that severely impede economic development.

The government has to fork out billions of rand every year to cash-strapped Eskom so as to keep the lights on.

Eskom is facing debts amounting to 420 billion rand (about 29 billion U.S. dollars).

The state-run parastatal has urgently appealed to the government to help it repay the debt so as to prevent it from bankruptcy.

The DA claims that what has happened at Eskom is testament to the depth of the national governance crisis.

"The DA is urging our law enforcement agencies to ensure that all those who are implicated in the industrial scale corruption that took place at Eskom, and elsewhere in government, are given an opportunity to have their day in court," Mazzone said.

Amid growing calls to privatize Eskom, President Cyril Ramaphosa said last week that the utility is "too big to fail."

Delivering his first major post-election address at an investment conference hosted by the Goldman Sachs Group in Johannesburg, Ramaphosa said his government is not going to privatize Eskom but will restructure the entity in a process that will allow the private sector to be partners in electricity generation and distribution.

South Africa welcomes innovation in tourism market: official

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa welcomes game changing innovation that will open up new markets for tourism destinations, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom said on Friday.

The innovation such as Airbnb offer travelers affordable holidays and allow smaller industry players to thrive, Hanekom said.

Many of these are able to flourish through the ease of using shared-economy platforms, he added.

He was speaking at a meeting in Cape Town with representatives of the global online accommodation booking platform Airbnb to discuss various policy issues, in particular the regulation of short-term home rentals.

The meeting took place amid rising concern over the government’s bid to regulate Airbnb and other home-sharing apps.

The government published the Tourism Amendment Bill (TAB) last month for public comment.

Hanekom welcomed the spirit of the discussion and cooperation from Airbnb, and voiced appreciation for their commitment to contributing constructively to the legislative review processes, in support of the country’s tourism development growth objectives.

The TAB aims, amongst others, to address the regulatory vacuum on short-term rentals by defining short-term home rentals as "the renting or leasing on a temporary basis, for reward, of a dwelling or a part thereof, to a visitor."

It also seeks to enable the Ministry of Tourism to determine thresholds regarding short-term home rentals. This could include limits on the number of nights that a guest can stay or even how much income an Airbnb earns.

"We urge our stakeholders to submit their comments, to enable us to strengthen the Bill in order to serve the interest of inclusive tourism growth in South Africa," said Victor Tharage, Director-General of the Department of Tourism.

Airbnb, headquartered in San Francisco, operates a global online marketplace and hospitality service accessible via its websites and mobile apps. Members can use the service to arrange or offer lodging, primarily homestays, or tourism experiences.

About 2 million people have made use of the platform in South Africa, official figures show.

However, the platform has increasingly come under fire in South Africa, where local hotels are concerned that the unregistered accommodation establishments listed on the platform are taking away business from established bed-and-breakfast lodges and hotels.

ANC Members of Parliament will play "robust
oversight" on government: chief whip

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- Members of Parliament (MPs) from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) will play their "robust oversight" on the government without creating tensions, ANC’s newly appointed Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina said on Tuesday.

Those in the ANC’s caucus are not "lame ducks" heading into the new parliamentary term, Majodina said after the ANC Parliamentary Caucus met for the first time in the 6th term of Parliament.

The meeting was convened by the National Office Bearers of the ANC to welcome the newly elected public representatives and to communicate the decision of the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) on the caucus leadership and the executive leadership.

Majodina was announced as ANC Chief Whip by the NEC on Monday.

Emerging from Tuesday’s meeting, Majodina said ANC MPs will rise to the occasion and rise to the mandate the ANC has given them to be in Parliament.

"People must live by the values of the ANC and make sure we represent our people and that is what we will be expecting from all of them.

"They must move faster and better.

"We don’t have time to play around," Majodina said.

South Africa’s new parliament, the 6th since the end of apartheid in 1994, will be sworn in on Wednesday.

The ANC garnered 57.51 percent of the votes in the May 8 general elections, maintaining its dominance in Parliament but with a reduced majority.

Co-alition partner supports South African government’s
decision to downgrade diplomatic mission in Israel

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) on Monday voiced support for the government’s decision to downgrade the country’s diplomatic mission in Israel.

"We call on our government to continue speaking out against the oppression of Palestinians and express its disapproval of the barbaric and backward actions of the Zionist state and its defenders," said COSATU, a coalition partner of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

The union federation was responding to accusation by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) against Minister of International Relations Minister and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu for downgrading the South African embassy in Israel.

Sisulu announced in April that her country had downgraded its embassy in Tel Aviv to an liaison office to show its solidarity with the Palestinian struggle, following a decision taken by the ANC more than a year ago.

Zev Krengel, vice-president of SAJBD, last week criticized Sisulu, calling her "a threat to the Jewish community in South Africa."

The slanderous rant directed at Sisulu "is disingenuous and opportunistic," COSATU national spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said.

The decision to downgrade the South African embassy in Israel into a liaison office is not a Sisulu policy but a government policy, Pamla said.

Sisulu implemented the policy and it is therefore opportunistic to single her out, said Pamla.

COSATU salutes Sisulu for honestly implementing the alliance policies in support of the Palestinian people, Pamla said.

He reaffirmed COSATU’s solidarity with the Palestinian people and called for an end to the evictions of the Palestinians from their territories.

"Our federation supports the formation of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. The Israelis must affirm the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland," Pamla said.

On Sunday, the South African Communist Party (SACP), another coalition partner with the ANC, also threw its weight behind the government to downgrade South Africa’s diplomatic mission in Israel.

That attack on Sisulu is nothing but rubbish and it is also racist because it seeks to racialize the country and divide it along the lines of ethnic groups, the SACP said.


Lonmin Plc, South Africa—Investing in Success and Sustainable Development



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