‘Ramatlhodi mustn’t run and hide’

The DA has hit out at the new mining minister for stepping away from the platinum strike.

The DA has hit out at the new mining minister for stepping away from the platinum strike.Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Newly-appointed Minister of Mineral Resources Ngoako Ramatlhodi's decision to withdraw from the intervention in the platinum strike has come under fire from the Democratic Alliance (DA).

Ramatlhodi vowed to end the mining sector's longest-ever strike as his first act in his new job.

About 70,000 workers belonging to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) downed tools in January, demanding a basic wage of R12,500 per month.

The action has halted mines that normally account for 40 percent of global platinum output and has hit the country's overall GDP, pushing it into contraction in the first quarter of the year.

Ramatlhodi quickly established a task team to help find a solution, bringing together representatives from government, Amcu and the three mining companies involved, and has reportedly managed to narrow down the key issues.

However, over the weekend, Ramatlhodi revealed today would be his last at the negotiating table.

The DA's Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources James Lorimer has slammed the decision.

Lorimer's called on Ramatlhodi not to "run and hide" after his talks failed to result in an agreement.

"The minister's withdrawal is not going to help anything," he said.

"The question of course arises as to whether the minister could have been considered a neutral negotiator and the answer is probably not," he added. "But that doesn't mean he should get out of the negotiating business altogether."