NUM confirms gold sector strike

The industrial action is expected to cost the sector millions of Rand per day.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) General Secretary Frans Baleni.Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has confirmed it will begin a strike in the gold mining sector next week after failed talks at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

The union's general secretary, Frans Baleni, says they will issue a strike notice to employers before the end of the week.

The industrial action is expected to cost the sector millions of Rand per day.

Baleni says the union is in the final stages of preparations for the mass action.

"We have a date planned to commence the strike next week but it's definitely not on Monday. We are doing final touch-ups with our members on the logistics around the strike. We are also mindful the employers are planning a lockout."

Earlier this week, the NUM rejected with contempt a final pay offer made by the Chamber of Mines.

The union labelled the chamber's offer of between 6 and 6.5 percent as a joke and threatened massive industrial action.

The chamber's chief negotiator Elize Strydom says it believes the wage offer is fair.

"We made the offer we thought we could make under the circumstances giving due regard to the financial realities within which the mining industry finds itself.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Unions (Amcu) and the United Association of South Africa and Solidarity are yet to decide on the offer.


Strikes have hit a number of key sectors over the past week, placing South Africa's economy under significant strain.

The mining industry has been characterised by instability and violence over the past year and has suffered huge losses as a result.

Speaking at the Mining Lekgotla earlier this week, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said while there's still an estimated $2.5 trillion worth of minerals underneath South African soil, it cannot be mined out without attracting investors to the country.

He said despite South Africa's abundant supply of minerals, investors have become somewhat reluctant to start new projects.

"The mere existence of mineral deposits no longer guarantees investment in the mining sector or associated sectors."

NUM's President Senzeni Zokwana has also warned that the industry is in a dangerous place after being hijacked by lawlessness.

"The scenario we are in is different now because there's lawlessness. There's a spate of killings and companies are hauled into ransom."

He said mining houses are currently feeling the pinch of labour costs, but there is a bigger threat because of the instability.

The NUM and Amcu have been locked a year-long battle for control among the mining sector's workers.