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'Investors wary of SA mining'

Stakeholders in the mining industry attended a round table discussion in Sandton on Wednesday.

Police push back protesters outside the Cape Town International Convention Centre where a mining indaba is being held, Tuesday, 5 February 2013. Picture: SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - Mining analysts say there is a perception among international investors that South Africa's labour environment is unstable and unpredictable.

Exxaro CEO Sipho Nkosi has told a round table discussion in Sandton that investors are hesitant to bring business to South Africa because downsizing and restructuring are frowned upon.

Nkosi says government needs to clarify the future of the industry to restore investor confidence.

"For some reason there's bad news coming out of South Africa which make our industry less attractive. For instance, people think government is not doing enough to stabilise the country and the laws of the country are not consistent."

Meanwhile, mining unions Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) say government is not doing enough to ensure mine bosses meet social development targets in communities surrounding their operations.

NUM's Frans Baleni says government's role must go beyond regulation.

"Government should not just regulate the industry. Government must also extend the benefits of these mineral deposits to the people as a whole. Many of these mining houses have failed in the first five years to meet the target."

Amcu's Jimmy Gama says government must ensure legislation for social development is implemented.

"There are many labour legislations but when it comes to implementation and the practice in terms of those laws you find that most employers are reluctant in ensuring that they are being implemented."

The troubled mining industry has seen several unprotected strikes in recent months.