CAPE TOWN, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Amid a jobs bloodbath in the mining sector, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Wednesday warned mining companies against retrenchments.
The ANC is "emphatically against retrenchments in both the private and public sectors," the party said in a statement emailed to Xinhua.
"Over the years, the mining sector has been shedding jobs, and the recent pronouncement of more than 400,000 purported job losses across the board is shocking," the ANC said.
The mining sector is an industrial development backbone upon which the economy relies, the party said, adding that every mineworker benefits seven or more family members.
Although the government offers mining companies tax breaks to keep jobs alive, more mining companies opt for worker retrenchments as a measure to deal with economic constraints.
Gold Fields, one of the world's largest gold mining firms, on Tuesday announced a restructuring at its South Deep operation west of Johannesburg, which would result in about 1,5400 jobs being cut.
In early August, Impala Platinum, one of the world's foremost producers of platinum and associated platinum group metals (PGMs), announced that it would cut 13,000 jobs over two years as part of a strategic restructuring process.
"It is unsustainable that mineworkers continue to bear the brunt of losses, as this is not necessarily a function of productivity, but historical and irrational management decision," the ANC said.
The party called on the sector to urgently convene a dialogue aimed at finding alternative solutions to this impasse, in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) which enjoins all the parties.
Massive planned retrenchments have prompted trade unions to propose a moratorium on layoffs for a humane mechanism to be sought to resolve the crisis.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Tuesday it is worried about the continuing trend of mining companies retrenching mineworkers in the country.
"This is a bloodbath of job losses in the mining industry. Mineworkers have become the sacrificial lamb in the name of profit. We hope the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), as the regulator of the mining industry, will promptly intervene," the union said.