Impala urged to engage government on restructuring plans

Friday, August 3, 2018

Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe has called on Impala Platinum to engage government in an effort to look at alternatives to its restructuring plans.

On Thursday, Implats announced restructuring plans which will be implemented over a two-year period. The plans are expected to result in about 13 000 job losses.

“We want to advise Impala to have discussions with us. Thirteen thousand is not a small number. You can’t just walk away as if normal. It’s abnormal in an environment with high levels of unemployment. You can’t destroy 13 000 jobs at a go,” Mantashe said at a briefing on Friday afternoon.

Impala Rustenburg’s mining footprint will, under the restructuring, be reduced from 11 to six operating shafts.

The Minister described the announcement by Implats as irresponsible and unethical.

“That announcement undermines the challenge facing society of high levels of unemployment and we cannot ignore that reality because we [can’t] just look at it in rands and cents and think that workers should be relegated into being numbers.

“Workers are not numbers, they are human beings that look after their families. When you take a decision to terminate employment you need to consider it thoroughly and be convinced that there is no alternative. I don’t think Impala has done that,” Mantashe said.

He said unemployment reduced the capacity of the economy.

“It reduces the consumption capacity of society. Unemployed people don’t buy…they can’t pay for what they need and therefore when you throw more people into unemployment you are killing the economy in the sense that you reduce consumption of goods that are in circulation in the economy,” he said.

Mantashe said he plans to meet with the labour movement to discuss its views on this matter.

The Minister also called on the industry to debate how to create more demand for platinum.

Meeting with CEOs

The Minister said he recently had a mining industry meeting which was attended by 35 chief executive officers and senior executives.

Among the issues that were discussed was the future of the industry, investment prospects, opportunities for young people as well as employment.

“It was curious for me that Impala was not part of that meeting and when they released this information it became clear to me that they are actually walking in the opposite direction of the industry,” Mantashe said.

The Minister said he previously had engagements with Impala Platinum and the company was advised to not rush into giving retrenchment notices. –