Johannesburg - The research report on state intervention in
the mining industry (Sims) that rejects nationalisation was accepted by the
ANC’s policy conference in Midrand this week.
This means that the conference said “no” to nationalisation,
but certainly “yes” to the state playing a bigger role in the mining industry.
But nationalisation as a broad principle was discussed at
length during an emotional debate and will probably surface again at the
Mangaung conference in December.
When the conference closed on Friday evening there had
however been few other indications of decisions on economic policy taken,
despite hopeful expectations that the uncertainty about issues like land
ownership, higher taxes for mines and compulsory mineral enrichment would be
As far as the mining industry is concerned the acceptance of
the research report amounts to a no, said Enoch Godongwana, the ANC’s head of
economic policy, after the closure of the Midrand conference.
It was in September 2010 that nationalisation first appeared
on the agenda of the national executive meeting in Durban, he said. It had been
decided that information on nationalisation in the mining industry should be
obtained before a decision could be taken. A team was appointed to examine
research on state involvement in the mining industry.
"The evidence presented in the research report does not
indicate the inclusion of nationalisation as a policy option in our
circumstances," said Godongwana.
As far as rental income (income on super profits) is
concerned, it was decided that this would be collected by means of taxation
“What the instruments should be is, however, still
undecided,” he added.
But the conference’s decisions will not allay concerns about
ANC policy. It was a continual theme accompanying all decisions at the week’s
conference that policy should be more militant and radical and that all delays
in applying policy should immediately come to an end.
In his closing address which, according to sources within
the conference was preceded by a debate on nationalisation, President Jacob
Zuma used every possible opportunity to make it clear that greater
transformation demands lie in wait for the business sector.
He quoted statistics to show that total black ownership of
the JSE’s market capitalisation, 18 years after the country’s liberation,
amounts to only 6.8%, and that only 16.9% of the top management of companies is
black and only 25.9% of senior managers black.
One of the possible interventions envisaged is the need to
create a progressive competitive policy in line with development objectives, he
Godongwana later said that steel prices, over which
government has for years felt aggrieved, were not discussed.
Import pricing parity and finding ways for the competition
authorities to counter it were discussed extensively, he said.
Coal as a strategic mineral was discussed as well.
A discussion on coal as a strategic mineral had not been
proposed, but rather that the country should have adequate access to coal
before the resource is exported and that it should be available at lower prices
than international market prices. “We won't pay import parity prices for coal,”
The conference also had long discussions about youth
unemployment. Various proposals were presented in this regard, including the
creation of the job-seekers grant that Zuma mentioned at the outset and which
is also noted in one of the discussion documents.
No decisions were taken about any of the proposals. What was
decided, though, is the urgency. All the proposals will be discussed with youth
organisations and the labour movement, including a wage subsidy, said
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