Having hardly warmed to his new office, already, the new Minister of Mineral Resources, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, has a bigger responsibility thrust upon him – overseeing an end to the economic crippling strike in the Platinum belt. Mining houses, unions and economists hope and believe the Minister will bring fresh ideas on ending the strike, whose persistence could be moving the country towards the precipice of a recession. Under Ramatlhodi’s predecessor, Susan Shabangu, efforts to end the strike were virtually in vain.
Ramatlhodi’s appointment has raised expectations in some quarters, with some naming him ‘the strike buster’. Possibly, based on his recent statements, Ramatlhodi should be given the benefit of the doubt.
Barely two days after his appointment, Ramatlhodi, set up a government mediation team which includes officials from the treasury that has brought unions and platinum firms to the negotiating table. He commented, “I am focused on the strike. It’s my breakfast, lunch and supper.”
Ramatlhodi said he strongly believed a lasting solution to the dispute lied in negotiation and not arm-strong tactics. “I would rather solve it without bashing heads together.”
With anticipation, he will live out to be “The Strike Buster”. If his super performance to end the strike succeeds he might as well deserve to be called “Superman”.