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gideonduplessisGideon du Plessis, general secretary at trade union Solidarity, writes that at last year’s Mining Charter III negotiations, trade unions campaigned for employee representation on company boards.  

A clause making provision for such representation was consequently included in the draft charter.  But, the clause was scrapped at the eleventh hour at the insistence of the Minerals Council SA (previously called the Chamber of Mines).  The Department of Mineral Resources (now DMR & Energy) was also uncomfortable with the clause given the fiduciary obligation it would place on employee representatives.  But in the end, pulling the clause was indicative of poor cooperation and trust between role players.  Du Plessis notes that Germany is the world leader when it comes to employee representation on boards, where maturity has paved the way for the democratisation of the workplace and for supervisory boards with equal representation between employees and shareholders.  SA is far behind Germany when it comes to the implementation of co-determination, but Sipho Pityana, president of Business Unity SA (Busa), has made the point that after the appointment of National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) founder James Motlatsi to the AngloGold Ashanti’s board, there was a significant decline in mining mortalities.  Du Plessis notes that SA’s mining sector has to overcome many challenges, though, before employees will get representation on company boards.  But, a progressive mining company that makes provision for employee representation on its board could accelerate workplace maturity by taking such a brave step.

  • Read Gideon du Plessis’ full article in the above regard at Miningmx


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