Olebogeng Motse
2 minute read
28 Feb 2019
6:20 am

Govt diamond mine denies reports of lay-offs

Olebogeng Motse

Alexkor Limited in Alexander Bay is pooling and sharing joint venture (PSJV) between Alexkor and the Richtersveld Mining Company.

Image: iStock

State-owned diamond mine in the Northern Cape, Alexkor Limited in Alexander Bay, denies reports that it’s planning to retrench about 300 mineworkers.

Speaking on behalf of Mervyn Carstens, the CEO of the pooling and sharing joint venture (PSJV) between Alexkor and the Richtersveld Mining Company, company secretary Raygen Phillips said they had not issued a formal notice of retrenchments, despite information doing the rounds alleging the contrary.

Contractor, diamond diver and community advisor David Pells said the mine was so indebted that salaries were paid late in January as a result.

But in his response to questions on the matter, Phillips said that all employees of the mine received their January and February salaries timeously, further cementing the assertion that retrenchments were not in the pipeline.

In 2003, the Supreme Court of Appeal delivered a landmark judgment that restored the Richtersveld community’s right to the mineral resources of the land and ordered that Alexkor must compensate the people for damage done. As a result, in 2011, a PSJV between the community and the mine was formed.

In a message from chairperson Tshediso Matola, who was appointed in September last year, on the Alexkor company website, he said: “PSJV is operated within a sound governance framework and on commercial terms, through both oversight by management of its activities and Alexkor board representation on the PSJV board.

“Alexkor has fulfilled most of the deed of settlement conditions and the remaining conditions will be addressed during the new financial year with the support of all the relevant stakeholders.”

Matola took over from Hantsi Matseke, who is the chairperson of the Free State Development Corporation.

The spokesperson for the national department of public enterprises, Adrian Lackay, previously said the department was not aware of the situation. He urged community members to contact the department so their concerns could be addressed.

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