Nationalising mines not on the table

Written by James Miller

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu has reiterated that the nationalisation of South African mines is not government policy.

Speaking at the Deutsche Bank’s 8th Annual BRICS Metals and Mining Conference in London on Wednesday, the minister said it seemed as though some had already issued a verdict on the subject.

“I am fully aware that my own repeated assurances as well as numerous statements by government and our President, have not yet removed the investor concerns in this regard. No matter how often our government states the obvious, that nationalisation is neither South African government policy, nor is it ANC policy; the controversies and potential fears do not seem to disappear,” said Shabangu.

The minister said responsible political leadership needed to strike a balance between the needs of the society, especially the poor, and the sustainable approaches to economic development and growth.

“It is evident that there are serious social and economic reasons that have given rise to the debate about the merits or otherwise of nationalisation. It is a fact that the prevalence in our country of the evil triplets of poverty, unemployment and systemic inequality invariably leads to despair, suffering, and widespread socio-political discontent.

“Policy controversies and political reactions to such critical issues are bound to push for the extremes with regard to policy positions – be they the occupation of financial centres or the nationalisation of natural resources,” she said.

It was necessary for communities and the mining industry to coexist harmoniously.

“We have to work together with the mining industry to resolve tensions that exist between communities and mining companies and this we must resolve … with the full consideration for the welfare of the communities and workers.”

Shabangu said government had embarked on an “exciting chapter in the mining sector”, as Cabinet had approved a beneficiation policy framework. The Department of Mineral Resources is currently finalisation the beneficiation action plan in consultation with all affected parties.

“The urgent elimination of the infrastructural bottlenecks remains our topmost national priority. As you know, President Jacob Zuma himself is chairing the Cabinet Commission that is mandated to deal with infrastructure issues.

“We are therefore resolute in our commitment to the promotion of our mining industry to achieve both industrial growth and social transformation. These parallel goals we will pursue via a process of continuous consultation with the affected parties including the mining industry.”

SA – the Good News via BuaNews