The mining minister called for a more robust reflection in the sector as it was the “alpha and omega” of the economy.
Mining contributes about 10 per cent to the second largest African economy’s gross domestic product.
“Let’s get everyone trained and we call upon the sector to assist with placements so as to upskill the quality of labour,” said Ramatlhodi while addressing the Joburg Indaba.
“It is important that we do our best to broaden the participation in the industry both at management, procurement and ownership levels.”
Ramatlhodi said investing in black South Africans was critical because the sector needed to create a black mass to ensure certainty in the sector.
He also raised concerns over safety in the sector however noting that there were marked improvements though causalities remained.
“Tuberculosis is the biggest killer in the mining industry as was highlighted recently by the health minister Aaron Motsoaledi,” noted Ramatlhodi.
(READ MORE: S.African miners’ highest cases of TB in world)
“The health minister said the tuberculosis incidences were associated with safety clothing and this has been described as a national crisis.”
Ramatlhodi said the mining bill was before President Jacob Zuma for consideration adding that the sector was generally pleased with the proposed legislation’s current state.
“I have engaged with the chamber and the input from is that the sector is generally pleased with the proposed bill,” he said.
Ramatlhodi also said the sector was currently looking at the compliance charter signed by industry players.
The mining charter was signed after tough talks lasting more than a year addressing concerns that were causing uncertainty within South Africa’s regulatory environment.
“We hope at the end of this process we will be able to take remedial actions so we ensure both workers and investors get value and returns for capital invested.”
Peter Leon a partner at Webber Wentzel has however dismissed the bill as flawed and in need of revision.
Valli Moosa, chairman of [DATA AMS:Anglo American Platinum] told the conference that the wildcat strikes in the Rustenburg region could be characterised as a major social uprising and a revolt akin to 1922 white mine workers.
“There is need for fundamental change and modernisation in every way,” said Moosa.
Moosa added that there was a need for change in the production process and a high degree of mechanisation that will improve productivity.