Jean-Jacques Cornish

Deal struck in principle to end SA platinum strike

Platinum miners and pit owners have reached a deal principle ending the five month strike threatening to drive South Africa into recession.

With a public holiday on Monday, it could be three days before anything’s signed.

The industrial action is the main reason for two credit agencies lowering the country’s rating.

General Secretary of the militant Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union Joseph Matunjwa says they’ve changed South Africa’s mining industry forever.

He says they’ve reached a deal in principle to end the strike although he needs to consult with the mining houses.

Lowest paid members in his union will make 600 euros more a month over the next three years –less than the immediate 780 euros a month they’ve been holding out for.

Matunjwa says if the mining house restructure or shed jobs it will be a deal breaker.

Economists concur that there cannot a recovery from the strike that cost the mining houses 1.3 billion euros in lost revenue and the miners half of that in lost wages.

Ratings agency Standard and Poors dropped South Africa’s credit rating to BBB, just one notch up on junk bond status.

The Fitch agency dropped its rating from stable to negative.

In addition to the miners strike they cited sluggish economic growth and South Africa’s constrained electricity supply.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.