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Labour tensions will be resolved - Zuma

The president made the comments while delivering his budget vote speech in Parliament.

President Jacob Zuma speaks in Parliament on 22 May 2012. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday said he is optimistic labour tensions in the mining sector will be resolved soon.

He was addressing the state of the economy while delivering his budget vote speech in Parliament, Cape Town.

The president said the economy is still growing, but at a much slower rate than expected.

Zuma said it's important for both labour and business not to undermine the economy.

“It is not in the interest of the country to have a tense labour relations environment which is characterised by a weakening of collective bargaining mechanisms, illegal wildcat strikes, violent protests and loss of lives.

“What we require from social partners is a commitment to resolves labour disputes peacefully and within the framework of the law, in the interest of workers, employers and the country as a whole.”

Zuma remains hopeful the team led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will succeed in stabilising the troubled mining sector.

“Work is continuing in this regard and we remain optimistic that a solution will be found.”

He also stressed that his government doesn't favour any unions in particular.

This followed criticism that the ANC government backed the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) over the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), because of its affiliation with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

“Government does not take sides and does not favour any labour union over others in the mining industry. Our interest is in finding solutions.”

(Edited by Tamsin Wort)

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