Can Workplace Secondments Build Trust In The Mining Sector?

Photo: Flickr, Paul Saad

Mutual suspicion has characterised the relationship between the South African government and mining companies, particularly in recent years. Resolving the current impasse would require a panoply of policy interventions because of the complexity and age of the mining industry.

Mutual suspicion has characterised the relationship between the South African government and mining companies, particularly in recent years. Resolving the current impasse would require a panoply of policy interventions because of the complexity and age of the mining industry. This briefing proposes that one such intervention could be the introduction of a structured workplace secondment programme between the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and mining companies – together identifying critical areas for co-operation and skills transfer. A well-managed and properly resourced secondment programme offers the potential to deepen understanding, share expertise, improve trust and ultimately facilitate a more functional and productive sector. Secondments carry their own risks, but these can be mitigated through rigorous design, and are far outweighed by the risk of doing nothing to alter the status quo.