Mining companies need to communicate: Motlatsi

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Mining companies need to communicate with their employees.

“It is the responsibility of each and every employer to make sure that they communicate properly with their employees. Yes, we have got unions in the mining industry but that does not mean that the employer need not communicate. Their employees need to understand their business,” Shanduka Group’s non-executive director James Motlatsi told CNBC Africa.

“As soon as the employees understand the business, it would be easier. When you talk about the gold price, the platinum price – if you haven’t taken your employees through the education of that, why do you think, when the commodity price drops, they would hear you? That is what the industry needs to move toward, they need to not treat employees as objects.”

This comes after the Reserve Bank warned that the stuttering economy and constant labour unrest in South Africa may lead to further downgrades and the exclusion of the country’s bond market from the Citibank Global Bond Index.

Motlatsi warned that unless there is transformation in mining industry in particular, labour unrest is unlikely to end.

“They need wholesale transformation – that’s the first one. The second one, what is important is how the industry treats its ex-employees – mine workers who retired, who have been sent home because of occupational diseases, the widows of the mineworkers who died. In the offence those four categories are not getting the benefits they are supposed to,” he said.

He added that it is the responsibility of the mine employers to do this.

“If you look at the industry, it has got a very bad legacy. There is no visible transformation in the mining industry. The industry needs to make sure that the quality of life of its employees has to change, meaning that the pay structure needed to change,” Motlatsi explained.

“The industry doesn’t do anything. Therefore the industry needs to do something which would make sure that those poor people get their benefits.”