S.Africa says 'disappointed' with likely Amplats layoffs

15th January 2013, Comments 0 comments

South Africa's minerals minister on Tuesday expressed dismay at Anglo American Platinum's plans to cut 14,000 jobs and questioned whether the firm had broken the law.

"The Department of Mineral Resources expresses grave disappointment about the unilateral decision of Anglo American Platinum," said Minister Susan Shabangu.

In a statement Shabangu said it was "regrettable" that the firm had informed the ministry about its plans only seven days ago.

If the cuts were to take place, they would be a hammer blow to the South African economy, which already suffers painfully high levels of unemployment.

Shabangu said the decision might have broken regulations that safeguard jobs.

"In this regard the department will undertake a comprehensive investigation on the various aspects as announced in their statement," she said.

Shabangu also lambasted the world's top platinum producer for its "half-hearted commitment" to tackle poverty.

"The company believes it is ethically acceptable to execute a complex form of hoarding of minerals and deprive the country of economic growth and workers of their livelihoods," she added.

Months after being swept up in a deadly mining strike, Amplats said on Tuesday that it expected to close four shafts and sell a mine considered unsustainable in South Africa.

© 2013 AFP

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