(Recasts with comments to conference)
By Ed Stoddard and Tanisha Heiberg
JOHANNESBURG Oct 6 Wage talks are at a
"critical stage" between South Africa's Association of
Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and Anglo American
Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin,
the union's president said on Thursday.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a mining
conference, Joseph Mathunjwa would not say if AMCU had moved
from its original demands of close to a 50 percent pay hike.
Amplats' chief executive said on Wednesday that his company was
"fairly close" to sealing a wage agreement with AMCU and other
Mathunjwa, who led a five-month strike in the platinum
sector in 2014, told a mining conference that a dose of
"madness" was needed to shake things up.
"To disrupt capital ... We have to bring a bit of madness to
the programme," Mathunjwa told the gathering of executives,
bankers, lawyers and analysts.
The Salvation Army lay preacher whose union dislodged the
once dominant National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on South
Africa's platinum belt in a vicious turf war, later elaborated
on what he meant by "madness."
"The madness...you have seen it in the five months strike,
that is the kind of madness we are talking about ... South
Africa needs that kind of madness to change these neo-liberal
economic policies," Mathunjwa told journalists.
"How can you transform a system within a system if you don't
disrupt the system?" he added.
Addressing the industry bosses gathered for the two-day
conference at a plush polo club on the edge of South Africa's
financial district, Mathunjwa told them to start sharing their
profits with the workers.
"The current system does not work for anyone but investors
and CEOs ... You still want to protect your super profits," said
Mathunjwa, clad in AMCU's trademark green shirt.
He spoke of "slave salaries" and "colonialism" and
"neo-liberalism," and even drew a round of applause when he
spoke about corruption in government.
(Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)