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Marikana could have been avoided – expert

After two decades as the Senior Commissioner of the Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration Commission (CCMA), retired Mapalo Tsatsimpe is someone whose brains should be chosen to resolve conflicts.

She knows all about conflicts, disputes and mediation.

In his latest book Mediateion, Tsatsimpe argues that the Marikana massacre nine years ago, which saw 34 striking miners cut down by police, and 78 others seriously injured in the Rustenburg Platinum Belt, could have been avoided, if all key stakeholders had given mediation a chance.

Among the issues the book focuses on are some of the weaknesses of the CCMA, leaders who allow conflict to occur, and employers who put business interests first.

As tensions simmered in Marikana between miners and Lonmin employers, Tsatsimpe said the conflict had been allowed by leaders on all sides to erupt.

“We allowed Marikana to get to where he ended up.

“The parties knew Marikana’s problems well in advance, before there was a serious conflict.

“This conflict has never been avoided by the rulers – reluctant to prevent conflicts from turning into strife.

“We wait for disputes to arise and do not treat mediation the way we should,” she said.

Marikana, she said, demonstrated “a general lack of mediation skills in the country to resolve serious issues between employee and employer.”

Image: Supplied

Tsatsimpe said: “Every year we have seen massive strikes in the country – some turning very violent.

“Parties shouldn’t just negotiate from a business perspective, but should create value for all stakeholders by doing their best to resolve disputes.

“With the skills I have, I need to share my experience to empower others.

“We should be tired of strikes which often result in injury, death and destruction of property.

“Mediation could be an answer to a myriad of issues that we face on a daily basis.

“It’s not just a dispute between an employer and an employee, it can work in family, in divorce, between a child and a parent; and in resolving community tensions.

As a former CCMA Senior Commissioner, Tsatsimpe said she “realized that when it comes to mediation – on the employer and employee side – we lack skills.

“We deal with disputes that we are unable to resolve.

“The only problem is that we are not using mediation to our advantage.

“At CCMA, we don’t have mediators who understand what mediation is.

“We are rushing into a process and not giving the issues the attention they deserve in mediation.

“The labor relations law also does not fully explain what mediation is.

“The book I wrote explains the difference between mediation and conciliation,” she said.

She added: “In conciliation, you don’t even wait for a dispute to arise.

“In conciliation, there is a conflict. Conciliation consists of preventing this conflict from turning into a dispute.

“I hope this book serves as an enlightenment for employees, employers and unions.

brians@citizen.co.za

Marikana could have been avoided – expert

Source link Marikana could have been avoided – expert

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