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

Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More