Ramatlhodi vows to end platinum strike

Newly appointed Minister of Mineral Resources says he will personally intervene in the strike.

Ngoako Ramatlhodi. Picture: GCIS

PRETORIA - Newly appointed Minister of Mineral Resources Ngoako Ramatlhodi says his first duty will be to end the four-month long platinum strike by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

Ramatlhodi succeeds Susan Shabangu, who was unable to secure a settlement between the union and Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin.

Thirty five ministers and 37 deputy ministers were sworn in at the presidential guesthouse in Pretoria on Monday afternoon in front of dignitaries which included senior ANC officials and members of the Presidency.

The event was presided over by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and President Jacob Zuma,

Zuma announced his new Cabinet in Pretoria on Sunday evening, just a day after his inauguration at the Union Buildings.

Ramatlhodi says he will be updated by his team on the latest developments in the platinum strike and will then personally intervene.

He says he is confident he will succeed.

"I will receive a briefing from my team so that I have a sense of the issues that are holding the agreement back and then begin to mediate."

Ramatlhodi says he will work to build a better relationship with Amcu.

He adds one of his main objectives will be to unite all stakeholders in the industry.

Meanwhile, Shabangu says she believes she did well during her tenure.

"It's been an exciting and challenging department. The advice to those who are there is to really focus on what we have done."

Around 70,000 members of the union have been on strike since January, demanding a basic salary of R12,500 per month.

They have rejected an offer that would bring their cash remuneration to that amount by July 2017.

Wage negotiations between the platinum producers and Amcu are ongoing after the union and mine bosses agreed to fresh wage talks.

In an unprecedented move on 20 May, Labour Court Judge Hilary Rabkin-Naicker urged the parties to return to the negotiating table after the union approached the court wanting Lonmin mine bosses to stop communicating directly with workers.

Amcu claimed the SMS messages were fuelling tensions between workers.

The strike action is the longest in the country's history.