Flash Briefing: Gold miners demand 15% higher pay; Eskom, Sasol sued for deadly pollution; Tiger Brands funds start ups

Written on 05/20/2021
Jackie Cameron

The National Union of Mineworkers wants a 15% wage increase across the board for employees in the gold mining sector, as well as minimum pay of R15,000.

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  • South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers wants a 15% wage increase across the board for employees in the gold mining sector, as well as minimum pay of R15,000 ($1,065), says Reuters. Soaring global gold prices over the past year have seen earning by gold firms surge, but the companies have argued that above-inflation increases are unrealistic. In the statement NUM said it expected firms to “come up with many excuses”, and that they would respond “with the required militancy”.
  • South Africa’s biggest food producer Tiger Brands will launch a venture capital fund to invest in food and beverage start ups, with initial allocation of less than R100m ($7.09m), CEO Noel Doyle said on Thursday. Geographically, the fund, which will be launched in June, will predominately focus on South Africa, “but not exclusively so,” Doyle told analysts after presenting the company’s half-year results.
  • A judge is set to rule after the first ever case filed against the government over its alleged failure to crack down on air pollution emitted by power plants operated by Eskom and refineries owned by Sasol, says Bloomberg. A Greenpeace study found in 2018 showed that Mpumalanga had the worst nitrogen dioxide emissions from power plants of any area in the world. The plants also emit sulphur dioxide, mercury and fine particulate matter that cause illnesses ranging from asthma to lung cancer and contributes to birth defects, strokes and heart attacks. In 2016, the air pollution caused between 305 and 650 early deaths in the region.
  • A statue of Cecil Rhodes, an imperialist who greatly expanded the footprint of British rule in southern Africa, will remain in place at Oxford University’s Oriel College, says Bloomberg. The memorial, which overlooks Oxford’s High Street, has been an object of ire for students and the wider public for years. Thousands took to the streets to protest its continuing presence during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement in the summer of 2020. Yet when it came to tearing it down, the college equivocated and then decided to keep it. The “regulatory and financial challenges” and cost represent significant obstacles to removing the statue, according to a statement published by the governing body of the college on Thursday. It’s instead proposed to “contextualise” the Rhodes legacy and memorial using physical elements and virtual resources.