The four-month long platinum sector strike is hampering South Africa’s economic growth, Lungisa Fuzile, the director-general of the National Treasury said.
The strike was also threatening efforts to narrow South Africa’s current account deficit, Fuzile said during the African Development Bank’s annual meeting in Kigali.
“We are always concerned about growth. The signs for the first quarter are not pointing towards a very strong rebound.”
The strike, which started in January, has all but halted output at the Lonmin, Anglo American and Impala platinum mines in South Africa. It has also led to a 4.7 percent fall in mining output for the first quarter. Economists are expecting growth to slow to 2.3 percent in the first quarter from 3.8 percent in the previous quarter.
Fuzilie expressed concern over the strike especially as “it occurs at a time when the current account deficit is hovering at about 5 percent of gross domestic product. Striking is part of the labour relations processes, but when strikes get protracted or violent, those developments are cause for concern.”
The miners are seeking a R12 500 basic wage from their employers. Talks between the employers and mine union Amcu over the wage dispute resumed this week.