Mineral resources & energy minister Gwede Mantashe’s comments regarding the possible suspension of Sibanye’s mining rights are entirely inappropriate (“Mantashe warns strike-hit Sibanye it may lose mining right”, May 19).
As a (former) trade unionist, one would have expected him to understand the importance of collective bargaining and the principles that underpin it. One of those principles is that the government should not interfere in the work-wage debate between an employer and its employees, as doing so serves only to unfairly coerce a party into concluding deals it otherwise would not be prepared to agree to.
If the minister was so concerned about the intractability of the strike he should instead have been encouraging parties to seek the assistance of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation & Arbitration or another dispute resolution body to bring the strike to an amicable end.
The timing of his comments was also curious considering that about two weeks ago the president was heckled by Sibanye’s striking workers. After receiving this chilly reception, the president indicated that the government would “deal with the matter”.
Is this how it “dealt” with the issue?
Neil Coetzer and Courtney Wingfield
Cowan-Harper-Madikizela Attorneys, Sandton
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