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Mining jobs task team under fire

Tensions in the task team set up to manage retrenchments in the mining sector, threaten its effectiveness.

FILE: The companies have blamed rising operational costs and falling commodity prices for the need to restructure. Picture: Harmony Gold.

JOHANNESBURG - The Mineral Resources Department has come under fire for its jobs task team set up to manage retrenchments in the mining sector with accusations of it being nothing more than a public relations exercise.

Representatives from the Chamber of Mines, unions, companies and government met again on Friday to discuss an estimated 11,000 job cuts across the industry.

The companies have blamed rising operational costs and falling commodity prices for the need to restructure.

Trade Union Solidarity's general secretary Gideon du Plessis says the talks have been characterised by infighting between different stakeholders.

"Everything around the task team is destructive, it's dysfunctional. The role players are involved in a lot of ugly infighting and I don't think there will be success story coming out of the job saving task team."

But Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi spokesperson Mahlodi Muofhe says the tension is normal.

"It can never be a public [relations] exercise when people are talking about jobs. In the task team, because of the different interests that are at stake, invariably the tension is there. As far as the minister is concerned, it's worth it to have that task team to deal with these issues."