South African Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu on Monday urged the mining industry to transform itself following the Marikana tragedy in which 44 people were killed.
To prevent such tragedies from happening again, the root causes of the Marikana tragedy must be urgently addressed, the minister said at a press briefing co-hosted by the New Age newspaper and the South African Broadcasting Corporation.
Transformation is necessary to address shortcomings of the mining industry which were the root causes of the Marikana tragedy last month, Shabangu said.
In the tragedy at the Lonmin Platinum Mine in Marikana, the North West Province, 34 miners were shot dead by police while 10 others, including two police officers, were killed in clashes in two weeks of internal fighting between miners belonging to two different unions.
"The unfortunate occurrence of the Marikana tragedy some two weeks ago has added to the many historic 'black spots' in our country, especially in the mining industry," Shabangu said.
"Whilst we acknowledge the significance of the Marikana ordeal, it is apt for the industry to have a conversation about the underpinnings of such a problem, anticipate other potential challenges, and recommend a concrete plan of action that will ensure responsible action from all stakeholders," she said. Only by transformation, can the mining industry anticipate other potential challenges, the minister said.
"In South Africa, we have worked very hard with mining stakeholders to create an enabling environment for the mining industry to be competitive, whilst simultaneously ensuring that there is meaningful transformation," she said.
The industry still had much to do to transform itself, and had to intensify the pace of achieving transformation, Shabangu said.
The South African government, she said, wants to see equity in the industry which cares about its employees and is proud to be part of the transformation agenda of South Africa.
She said the government will continue to project the country as a mining destination with which investors want to be associated.