This morning it was announced that Sibanye Stillwater will effectively take ownership of Lonmin with a buy-out worth R5 billion. This means that Sibanye Stillwater will take full control of Lonmin Platinum and will further give the current Lonmin Shareholders an ownership of 11.3% shares in Sibanye Stillwater.

We receive this news with great concern, and given the lack of consultation with AMCU as a majority Union with great contempt! It once again confirms that for the mining bosses of this country, workers are nothing more than machines who should have no say in how we manage the economic affairs of this country.

However, our concern runs much deeper than the question of consultation. The process of capitalist firms swallowing up its competitors and intensifying the monopolisation of the economy is not good for workers. It concentrates power in the hands of a small group of capitalist bosses that use that power to drive home the restructuring of the company to further maximise their profits.

We know that the new owners of Lonmin, as they have done in the gold industry and in their platinum plants in Rustenburg, will intensify the exploitation of workers at the expense of their welfare, health and safety. They will attempt to cut costs and this will mean job losses, casualization and extreme forms of intimidation in an effort to extract greater profits.

This is not something new. We have seen that the crisis in the mining sector is being used as an occasion to buy out the vulnerable at expense of expanding production through new investment. Furthermore, they will use their power in the economy resulting from their monopoly position to push their capitalist interests as if they represent the interests of society. So, for example, they will use their power in the economy to push for lower corporate taxes, weaker labour laws, weaker health and environmental regulations.

As AMCU we can attest that things at Lonmin have not been a picnic for workers. After all, this is the company that engineered the massacre of workers who were struggling for a living wage. However, all the gains we have made at Lonmin since the massacre will now be under threat.

Sibanye Stillwater has not committed to the creation of any new jobs or even saving the jobs that are currently in place. Instead, Sibanye Stillwater has announced that in three (3) years of it taking over the ownership of Lonmin they will destroy 12,600 jobs. This will come on the top of the 1,100 jobs that are currently being shed at Lonmin.

With an unemployment rate of 27.7% this constitutes a nightmare for the workers of this country. As AMCU we shall treat this matter with the great urgency it deserves. We are going to consult our members and consider all options available to us including mass action backed up by all conceivable legal avenues to defend our members. In doing so, we are prepared to join forces with communities around Lonmin to ensure that the interests of mine workers mine affected communities are defended.

We want to warn the new owners and current shareholders that we will fight and not sit quietly as our members future is destroyed.




Yours in Social Justice,

Mr Joseph Mathunjwa

AMCU President