Hon Speaker and hon members, the first step we took was to meet with key stakeholders in the mining sector to agree on a course of action to stabilise the sector. We then established the mining forum, comprising of organised labour, business and government. Labour is represented by trade union federations Congress of SA Trade Unions, Cosatu; Federation of Unions of SA, Fedusa; and National Council of Trade Unions, Nactu; and trade unions such as the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, Amcu; the National Union of Mineworkers, NUM; the Media Workers Association of South Africa, Mwasa; and Solidarity. Business is represented by the Chamber of Mines and the SA Mining Development Association.
On 03 July 2013, the parties signed the framework agreement for sustainable mining and identified both the short-term and medium to long-term measures required to stabilise the mining sector. In ensuring the rule of law, peace and stability and the provision of proper and sustainable human settlement infrastructure in the Rustenburg platinum belt, we identified some of the priority short-term measures requiring immediate attention. Much progress has been made in implementing some of these short-term measures. Our observation is that all parties have fulfilled their commitments to ensure peace and stability within the mines. Both mining companies and workers have since the signing of the framework agreement conducted their affairs within the ambit of the law.
The Mine Crime Combating Forum was launched in August 2013, and trade unions and mining companies are co-operating with the SA Police Service to maintain peace and stability in the mines and surrounding communities. Government has also taken steps to improve the processing of all cases emanating from the mining sector. The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development has annexed the magisterial districts of Brits, Mankweng and Rustenburg to the Bafokeng Magisterial District in order to create capacity and accelerate the hearing of cases emanating from the mines in those affected areas.
Both government and business have committed financial resources and land to ensure the provision of proper sustainable human settlement infrastructure in the area. A technical team is working with the local municipality to determine the full scope of the project. The Chamber of Mines reported recently that mining companies continue to implement various projects to transform the old hostels into decent living accommodation. We continue to monitor progress in this regard in the context of the Mining Charter commitments.
The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, CCMA, is also conducting a series of training programmes in the mines to educate union members on best labour relations practice and workplace relations. The Chamber of Mines has established a task team on employee indebtedness, or a debt trap. Amongst other interventions, they are conducting financial literacy classes and have taken steps to shut down illegal micro lenders. We are confident that the ongoing work will ultimately address this challenge in the medium term.
Medium to long-term measures include reviewing the migrant labour system, annual assessment of the implementation of the Mining Charter and the reskilling of workers to achieve competitiveness and sustainable growth of the mining sector. This is all work in progress.
The Chamber of Mines has initiated processes with the further education and training, FET, colleges to provide training to mineworkers with a view to improving their skills level, thus helping to enhance the portability of their skills within and beyond the mining sector.
At the last meeting of the Mining Forum, both the Chamber of Mines and the SA Mining Development Association reported that they had initiated processes to improve the migrant labour system in a way that will afford mineworkers more time with their families. Government is part of this process of reviewing the migrant labour system which, in our view, will address, in the long term, some of the social challenges brought about by this system. The efforts of this forum have once again confirmed that as South Africans we are capable of addressing complex challenges through dialogue.
Finally, I am sure that members will agree that in spite of the occasional flare-ups, the situation in Marikana, in particular, and the platinum belt, in general, is much calmer and less characterised by violent crimes and murder. However, we cannot be complacent, and the situation is therefore continuously being monitored through engagements with all stakeholders. I thank you for your attention. [Applause.]