Minister of Mineral Resources, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, decision to withdrawal from the negotiations between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and platinum producers on the platinum belt displays a distinct lack of leadership in the face of our very serious economic challenges.
The strike has already pushed our economy to the brink of recession, threatening the well-being of thousands of miners and this crucial industry.
Estimates suggest it has already cost workers R9.5 billion in lost wages and producers R21.5 billion in lost revenue. It is weighing down the economy, and could end up bringing down other sectors with it.
This is no time for the Minister to run and hide. Government must continue to be part of efforts to end the strike by bringing parties towards a mutually beneficial solution.
The DA has recommended that government reconsider and reform its spending on mining royalties. The administration of royalty reinvestments in mining communities through an independent and capacitated agency would create a mutually-beneficial environment for both mining companies and their employees.
If Minister Ramathlodi is not able to pass this crucial test of leadership, he is not fit to serve in this challenging portfolio.