Cape Town - Absa Group [ASA] CEO Maria Ramos
said on Friday that the nationalisation of mines would not be in the country's interests.
Addressing students at the University of Cape Town, Ramos said: "I don't think nationalising our mines is going to solve the problems of this country, but that is just my view," she said.
Ramos said that while she was not the best person to speak about mining, it did seem to be a heavily capital intensive exercise.
She said it was not just the nationalisation of mines that was the issue, but also the best use of state resources.
"I think that we need to keep this (debate) in perspective. South Africa already has a lot of state-owned enterprises. As a country we already own a big chunk of things. I ran a state-owned enterprise (Transnet) that ran railways, harbours and airlines and owned lots and lots of land.
"I think we sometimes think that the only way that you can create wealth and opportunity is if the state owns it," Ramos said.
She said that she did not know if that was the right answer, and questioned whether the state should be using its resources to pay out existing shareholders for the value they would otherwise lose when they sold their mines.
"The state would have to use a significant amount of capital," Ramos said.
She said the state should probably best be using its resources to invest in health and education.
"I happen to think that wealth is not what lies under the ground. In my mind the wealth in our country is you (the students) and the best thing we could do is invest in education and the human capital and for (students) to go out there and do great things," she said.