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President Jacob Zuma has encouraged labour and business to quickly resolve any ongoing labour disputes to restore SA’s economy, writes Vicky Sidler.

This follows the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) strike at Anglo American Platinum, which the union warned could be extended to other major platinum producers in South Africa. 600 employees at DRDGOLD’s Ergo operation have also downed tools, and a settlement has not yet been reached.

The president congratulated business for its cooperation and intervention in the mining sector, speaking the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI)’s annual conference on Wednesday evening.

“We have worked closely with business and labour to ensure a more rapid and peaceful resolution of labour disputes, while at the same time improving the operational and policy environment in the sector. We appreciate the cooperation of business and labour in the mining intervention programme,” Zuma said.

“Our message to employers and labour is that with the advantage of such a legal framework, they should conclude labour negotiations and disputes speedily. We urge those sectors with disputes that have not yet been resolved to attend to them speedily so that the economy can return to full production.”

Zuma said that government had intervened in the mining sector over the past nine months to help stabilise it, but recent strikes and labour unrest have caused concern among investors, particularly in the mining and the motor industries.

“We should continue working together to build the economy and the country. This cannot be the responsibility of government alone,” said Zuma, calling on South African business to take advantage and make investments in the continent, especially in infrastructure projects.

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