Jobs bloodbath worsens in South Africa – 3,900 on the block

 ·26 Apr 2024

Impala Platinum Holdings Limited (Implats) has initiated a Section 189(3) consultation process at its South African operations and aims to cut roughly 3,900 jobs, adding to the thousands of jobs already cut in the sector.

“Platinum group metal (PGM) pricing has declined sharply since the start of 2023, which together with persistent inflationary pressures on input costs has resulted in significant pressure on profitability and cashflow across the entire PGM sector, our operations included,” said Nico Muller, Implats CEO.

“Global macroeconomic uncertainty and rising geopolitical tensions present additional downside risks to industry sustainability.”

“Cost-saving, capital-deferment and voluntary labour-reduction initiatives to date have not sufficiently offset the impact of persistently lower prices. This has significantly undermined Implats’ financial position, which in turn threatens future job security for the entire workforce.”

Muller said that the group will conduct a fair and transparent consultation process, with no final decision made until full and proper consultation are conducted with the affected employees and their representatives, in compliance with the Labour Relations Act.

The group said that all alternatives to job losses will also be considered during the consultation process.

The restructuring could potentially affect 3,900 positions, working out to a 9% reduction in labour across the group’s Impala Rustenburg, Impala Bafokeng and Marula operations.

The corporate office has also not been spared, which is targeting a 30% reduction in head office costs.

Implats already cut more than 1,000 jobs in the second half of 2023.

Not alone

Implats is not the only miner looking to cut jobs, with Sibanye Stillwater also looking to cut 4,000 jobs.

Sibanye’s proposed cuts aim to restructure its gold operations and its Southern Africa (SA) region services functions.

In February, it announced that 2,600 employees were retrenched to address its loss-making operations and guarantee the sustainability of its South African PGM operations.

Capitec CEO Gerrie Fourie warned earlier this week that retrenchments in the mining sector would likely increase, unlike many other parts of the economy.

The sector has not only been hit hard by commodity price pressures, but also the challenges at Transnet’s rails and ports, limiting their ability to export their products.

Source: Capitec

Read: Investors are biding their time – with South Africa expected to turn a corner

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