The trade union UASA is most concerned about the February figures reflecting South Africa’s mining output released today.
Dubbing it the worst mining production in 51 years, economist Mike Schussler, who is also responsible for the annual UASA Employment Report, says we are now back to pre-1961 levels.
It will just take a few more months of slowed down production, partly due to Government’s safety drive, to see the retrenchment of thousands of workers.
The number of workers currently active in the mining industry, is lower than in 1960, but if this situation continues 10% to 15% of jobs in the mining sector could be in the balance soon, in spite of high commodity prices. This represents just under 50 000 workers.
UASA’s concern is that the country’s current account may take a dip as a result of this, resulting in tragic consequences for South Africa’s workers.
The continued talk of nationalisation over the past few years’ long term impact may become visible now, with investors withholding capital while keeping a weary eye on what the future will bring.
This is no small threat for South Africa. People active in the industry now, have never seen such weak performance in the mining sector. Diamonds are down 11%, iron ore 10%, gold 5% and the platinum group 3%.
South Africa, as a mining country, cannot afford this and the matter needs urgent thought and action as it will negatively impact on all South Africans if allowed to continue.
- The 2012 UASA Employment Report will be released on 4 May this year.