News / Africa

    South African Union Leader Praises Platinum Wage Agreement

    The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) President Joseph Mathunjwa speaks to striking mine workers at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, June 23, 2014.The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) President Joseph Mathunjwa speaks to striking mine workers at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, June 23, 2014.
    x
    The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) President Joseph Mathunjwa speaks to striking mine workers at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, June 23, 2014.
    The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) President Joseph Mathunjwa speaks to striking mine workers at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, June 23, 2014.
    James Butty

    The president of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) of South Africa has described the agreement ending the country’s longest mining strike as a breakthrough for workers. 

    Joseph Mathunjwa said the workers have managed to unshackle themselves from the slave-wage structure dating from colonial times and lasting through 20 years since the end of apartheid.

    He called on the South African government to re-examine its industrialization and wage policies to ensure an equitable distribution of the country’s wealth.  

    Mathunjwa said the agreement has put the workers on the right path toward decent wages and working conditions in the mining industry.
     
    “It was an agreement that we reached for the duration of three years, starting 2013 to 2016 June, of which they gave the least-paid mine worker a thousand rand increase for each and every month,” he said. 
     
    The agreement raises wages for the lowest paid workers, whose basic salary is less than 12,500 rand ($1,180) by 1,000 rand ($95) a month for two years, and by 950 rand in the third year.

    The workers had originally demanded basic wages be increased to 12,500 rand -- which would have represented a more-than doubling of income.

    “The lowest-paid mine worker in South Africa in [the] platinum sector was 4,500 rand a month.  So, therefore, it was quite a very slight salary considering the environment in which our members are subjected to. I think it is a journey that one has to walk until such time that our members realize better working conditions,” Mathunjwa said.

    Mathunjwa described the agreement as a breakthrough.

    “We’ve managed to unshackle ourselves from this slave-wage structure that came long from colonization to the last 20 years of our democracy that hasn’t been challenged. So, it’s a breakthrough. We are on the right path toward decent salary and decent working conditions in the mining industry,” he said.

    He called on the South African government to re-examine its industrialization and wage policies to ensure an equitable distribution of the country’s wealth.

    “I think it is proper that they should look at this policy that doesn’t address the inequality that was created more than 300 years ago. Even in our dispensation from 1994, the pay structure that was designed for black workers was never challenged and it was never changed. So, therefore, it is incumbent on the government to look at the industrialization policy by equally distributing the wealth of the country,” Mathunjwa said.

    The three platinum companies, Anglo-American Platinum, Lonmin and Impala Platinum, signed the wage agreement Tuesday.  Lonmin CEO Ben Magara warned a restructuring of his company was inevitable and hinted that could result in job losses.  The three companies lost a combined 24-billion rand ($2.27 billion) in revenue.

    Butty interview with Mathunjwa
    Butty interview with Mathunjwai
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora