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Press Statement, 21 June 2019
ALEXKOR RETRENCHMENTS AGGRAVATED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC ENTERPRISES
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in the Western Cape Region is highly perturbed by Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) posture which is exacerbating to the disposing of Alexkor SOC and the brutal end to the relationship with the Richtersveld Mining Company (PTY) Ltd.
The Alexkor RMC PSJV is an unincorporated joint venture between Alexkor SOC and the RMC that was formed after the historic land claim won by the Richtersveld Community in the Namakwa District of the Northern Cape.
The Alexkor RMC PSJV joint board is an establishment of the unanimous Resolution in terms of clause 8.4 of the Deed of Settlement. Alexkor SOC having the controlling 51% stake on behalf of the government.The PSJV and Alexkor SOC are in financial distress since 2018 due to ever-changing weather conditions affecting diamond mining along the west coast between the towns of Port Nolloth and Alexanderbay.
The companies jointly supported by the NUM, employed various measures to arrest the situation. These included a request for MTEF funding through DPE and an application to National Treasury for a deviation of process contracting the PSJV to manage the legacy rehabilitation of Alexkor SOC.
The National Treasury declined the application and DPE refuses to respond to all inquiries. This has resulted in the PSJV issuing a formal s189 notice on 13 May 2019 affecting 193 jobs. Alexkor SOC also issued s189 notice on 30 May 2019 affecting 45 jobs.These jobs, mostly based in the small rural Richtersveld communities will have a devastating effect on the workers, communities, business and the Richtersveld Municipality.
NUM is deeply disappointed to discover that the DPE since March 2018 is maintaining a senseless moratorium on Alexkor SOC to invest in, develop or contract any business. The moratorium remains in force knowing that under the prevailing circumstances the PSJV is unable to service its debt to Alexkor, knowing that the PSJV is unincorporated and cannot freely apply for funding. The DPE, knowing that both companies are in financial distress does not respond to the applications for funding and stops Alexkor SOC from participating in the MTEF scheme.
The DPE, consciously taking all the above decisions and being aware of the changes in weather conditions, should have foreseen these two companies running into financial distress. By not providing the necessary financial support the DPE should have known that retrenchments were imminent. The DPE seem to be unaffected by these job losses.The NUM calls on President Ramaphosa to send Ministers Mantashe and Gordhan to the Richtersveld to ensure this problem is immediately stopped from continuing and or mitigated at least. NUM would also like to remind President Ramaphosa of the day in April 2019 where the workers drove 400km from Alexanderbay to Lutzburg for his attention and resolution to this issue.
NUM demands that the DPE responds favorably to sustain this operation and immediately lift the moratorium on the SOC in order to keep and create more jobs and business.
The obligation to fight poverty, inequality, and unemployment rests on all our shoulders as the responsible citizens and reaching the target of unemployment less than 15 % within the next 5 years by the government requires prompt and decisive interventions on issues with devastating consequences like the one of Alexkor.
For further information, Please contact:Soso Fisa: NUM Western Cape Regional Secretary: 073 159 5213 Ben Vaas: NUM Western Cape Regional Organiser: 064 850 8536
The National Union of Mineworkers 7 Rissik Street. Cnr Frederick Johannesburg Tel: 011 377 2111 Cell: 083 809 3257 Web: www.num.org.za<http://www.num.org.za> Twitter: @Num_Media Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/NUM/100860023402167