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Sibanye-Stillwater retrenches 2,000 workers at Cooke operations

The group says that after extensive discussions and assessments, it had no choice but to follow through with the retrenchments.

FILE: Miners at work in a mine shaft. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - As unemployment figures continue to paint a gloomy picture for the country, metal mining group Sibanye-Stillwater says it’s had to retrench over 2,000 workers at its Cooke gold operations.

The mining group says it’s been experiencing difficulties for some time and accumulated losses.

The group says that after extensive discussions and assessments, it had no choice but to follow through with the retrenchments.

Sibanye-Stillwater says the 2,000 workers who have lost their jobs is an unfortunate outcome, but the loses at the operations were threatening the sustainability of other operations.

Senior vice president of investor relations at Sibanye, James Wellsted, explains: “To continue with losses and losing profit from other operations threatens the viability and sustainability of other jobs in the area.”

Wellsted adds that commodity prices, above inflation wage increases and electricity prices are some of the reasons behind the accumulated loss.

South Africa's informal sector is also suffering as unemployment bites down.

The sector recorded the third biggest quarterly drop in jobs since 2010.

That was revealed by Stats SA's Quarterly Labour Force Survey which was released on Tuesday.

The economy managed to add an extra 93,000 jobs between July and September. However, at the same time, 33,000 South Africans joined the employment market.

That means the country's unemployment rate remains at 27.7% for the third consecutive quarter.

However, the expanded definition, which includes job seekers who've given up hope of finding work, paints an even bleaker picture.

It reveals that 9.4 million people are unemployed, that's 36.8% of the workforce.

The Eastern Cape remains the province with the most unemployed people, with the expanded rate ticking up by 4 percentage points compared to the same time last year to 35.5%.

The numbers also reveal a big knock for the informal sector, with 71,000 employment losses in the third quarter.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)