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South African president: Economy affected by mining problems

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South African President Jacob Zuma addresses striking miners at a platinum mine in the town of Marikana.

South African President Jacob Zuma says problems including strikes and deadly clashes faced by the mining industry have affected the country’s economy.

“When our mining sector is in difficulties, this affects the wider economy, leading to industrial slowdown,” Zuma said on Thursday.

Reports say that South Africa’s economy witnessed a growth of about 0.9 % percent in the first quarter of this year which is considered to be a weak recovery for the continent’s biggest economy since a 2009 recession.

Referring to the weak recovery, the president said, “Without faster growth we cannot succeed in reducing unemployment, poverty and inequality.”

South Africa’s mining sector has been paralyzed by a series of wildcat strikes over miners’ low pay since August, 2012. Dozens of people have so far been killed in the strike-related violence.

On February 18, South African security guards shot dead at least five mineworkers outside Amplats Siphumelele mine in the northwestern city of Rustenburg following a clash between rival union factions.

In November, 2012, clashes between the members of rival South African labor unions at a mine in west of Johannesburg have killed at least two miners.

The incident took place on November, 22 at the Kusasalethu mine, situated 65 kilometers (40 miles) west of Johannesburg, where fighting was reported between the National Union of Mines (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU)’s members.


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