Gordhan says mining firms must reverse job cuts

South Africa’s mining companies must reverse recent decisions to cut jobs in the industry to help revive the economy and boost investor confidence, according to Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

His comments come after Lonmin said it plans to cut 4 100 workers at platinum mines that are being closed down, while in February Sibanye Gold said restructuring of its unprofitable gold-mining operations in South Africa could lead to more than 6 000 job losses.

“Companies must ensure there is a balance in what they do in respect of shareholder expectations and societal expectations,” Gordhan said at a dinner hosted by South Africa’s minerals council in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

While mining has long been a linchpin of the South African economy, uncertainty over government policy, strikes and rising costs have all contributed to an investment downturn that’s hurt the country’s overall growth. Companies must do a deal with the government on a new mining charter that determines industry ownership rules, Gordhan said.