Shabangu: SA to dispel nationalisation fears

2012-06-12 14:12

Johannesburg - Long-running investor concerns about whether South Africa might nationalise its mines will be laid to rest at a ruling party conference later this month, Mines Minister Susan Shabangu said on Tuesday.

Over two years of support for nationalisation from radical elements in the ruling African National Congress unnerved investors and has been seen as a key reason why the sector has not attracted the foreign capital it should.

But an ANC study released in February said nationalisation would be an "unmitigated disaster". Instead, it urged higher taxes and royalties which the sector could find hard to absorb as it struggles with soaring labour and power costs.

"There has been much speculation as to what the ultimate result of the discussions of the ANC will be on the issue of nationalisation," Shabangu said in a speech at a Johannesburg business school.

"This will be laid to rest in two weeks' time," she said, referring to the ANC's policy conference starting on June 26.

Shabangu has already signalled her ironclad opposition to nationalising mines in the world's largest platinum producer as has President Jacob Zuma, while supporters of nationalisation have been weakened.

The face of the nationalisation drive, former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, has been suspended from the ruling party for bringing it into disrepute, killing any influence the young radical may have had over policy.

Shabangu also said her department commissioned a report on the state of the platinum sector three months ago and that the completed study is now on her desk.

This comes as the sector grapples with depressed prices and escalating costs which have pushed marginal operations into the red, as well as violent labour strife and a government safety drive which hit production hard in 2011 and earlier this year.

Aquarius Platinum this week became the first major platinum producer to scale back activities because of low prices and will likely not be the last.

Shabangu said the platinum sector is so important to the South African economy, Africa's biggest, that it cannot be allowed to decline.

"We must look at ways to ensure production grows, not declines," she said.

  • mukosit - 2012-06-12 14:40


      Alan - 2012-06-12 16:45

      Yes, Shabangu - now spell that clearly out to Irvin Jim, whose rantings are so destructive to SA's image. Not to mention totally idiotic in economic terms.

  • William - 2012-06-12 14:47

    Smart move, however I think we all would be very naive to believe that this is the end of the issue. All the unions have been pushing for nationalisation for years, and the ANC are so afraid of pissing these guys off that it will surely be on the agenda for many years to come, despite any sensible person seeing it as being a death blow to common economic sense!!! And so foreign investors continue to run scared!!!

  • richard.hipkin - 2012-06-12 14:49

    Nationalisation of mines given the current trend would spell disaster for SA. Minerals are not a bottomless pit, Platinum is already losing worth and even though the price is fluid the supply is not. Labour costs and union action also drives down investor confidence..

  • Vic - 2012-06-12 15:09

    Great news..... for now! Don't trust ANC.

  • jean.tredoux.5 - 2012-06-12 15:14

    Always let problem worsen before actually preventing it in the first place...

  • Fussed - 2012-06-12 15:19

    Surely we can't trust this woman, don't fool yourself, she has no clue. Trust me, she has caused the mining industry untold pain, and with her boss on his way our, via a quick shower, she's just headging her bets....

  • Erna - 2012-06-12 15:22

    At last the voice of reason. Now document it in the Gazette, Freedom Charter, Constitution, law books, policy documents so that no one can bring it up again!

      afrikeni - 2012-06-12 15:34

      You take it the people can read - far from it!

  • thulani.zondi.7 - 2012-06-12 15:35

    Nationalisation of mines and other key economic industries will happen. We as the ordinary members of the anc will push that agenda until we achieve our goal to achieve economic emancipation. We cannot afford anymore to ignore the high level of poverty and high rate of unemplouyment. The government was voted into power by the people not investors. It is the will of the people that will prevail not the individuals.

      Raymond - 2012-06-12 15:42

      The mines won't save you, you fool. Lets start with the anc's massive spending on parties, travel, vehicles, etc. Therein lies the problem.

      Mike - 2012-06-12 17:34

      The ANC was voted into power by people who make zero contribution to the economy now let's stop taking bad advise from every Tom dick and Harry who is not educated in the complex sphere of economics. Mining and farming are only successful when engaged by people with the top skills and passion. We need to grow our infrastructure to give more jobs to people not shrink it.

      Gerasimos - 2012-06-12 22:00

      Thulani you are so ordinary! Rather campaign for a better work ethic or practical education and you might get somewhere. Nationalisation of the mines and key industries will get you nowhere because all the people who know how to get it out of the ground or make things happen will leave SA and leave you and your ordinary comrades with nothing but a hole in the ground and empty factories! Check out history and you will see how Africa works. What makes you so different? You are an ordinary African who wants something for nothing even if its broken. Typical naive stupid thinking.

      ryan.a.smith.3958 - 2012-06-13 00:51

      Thulani youre an idiot. try working. unfortunately for you, we have something called a constitution that prevents nationalization without compensation at market rates. so the ANC would have to change the constitution, and the only way they can do that is to get 75 % in the general election. and they are nowhere near that. try studying .. that will emanipate your brain. and then maybe you'll get a proper job and not just expect.

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-06-13 07:38

      Indlovu, all that will happen is that poverty will get worse & unemployment will get even worse, do you think that what happened to Zimbabwe won't happen here, take a trip to Zim & see what your future holds, but if you don't want to listen, you will get whats coming to you.

  • colin.dovey - 2012-06-12 15:47

    The Platinum market has NEVER been stable - I was an Underground Manager at Rustenburg Plats in the 70's - when the price/market dropped, we had to lay off hundreds of workers - that was devastating both for them and me. The same thing is happening now it seems - hopefully the cycle with change back to positive again - trouble is, this nationalisation talk is not doing any good - minerals ALWAYS have to have a market to sell will nationalisation help? You still have to have SKILLED people working on the mine, and based on performance to now, this ANC Government makes me scared stiff - and it should make EVERY South African feel the same way.

  • Sagin - 2012-06-12 15:50

    I am always ready to give the anc flack, but if this is indeed true and not some diabolically underhanded diversion, then i say well done and thank you. we need decisive leadership in our country.

  • rory.short1 - 2012-06-12 15:58

    The question of whether to nationalise anything or not is not the first question that should be asked. The first question that should be asked is, how do all South Africans get the most benefit out of this thing? Nationalisation of things like the mines has proved a dismal failure in this regard in other countries like Zambia and it would seem that the ANC has recognised this.

  • Sagin - 2012-06-12 16:03

    lets not count our chickens before they have hatched, but provisionally i must say well done anc, a decisive decision.

  • iain.cluett - 2012-06-12 16:14

    Nationalisation of the mines in South Africa is and will continue to be for many years a seriously bad idea. This is not about white domination and black oppression or capitalist conspiracies or what ever psuedo-intellectual socialist rhetoric that has taken hold of the minds of the proletariat. This is a simple issue of who will govern the sector in the best way. Whether you are an ANC supporter or not, what we all have to accept is that there is a widespread problem with corruption in the South African Government. You can't discount the fact that it's there. And although there is definite private sector corruption, it is nowhere near at the level that it's at in the public sector. In the end the private sector is the most efficient, the most well run and the least corrupt whilst the public sector is the least well run, the most inefficient, the most corrupt. And you think that giving the mining industry which is currently in the hands of the more efficient and less corrupt private sector to the far more corrupt and inefficient public sector is a good idea? Thats the problem that people who are opposed to nationalisation have with the proposition. It has nothing to do with any agent provocateurs or white monopoly capital or any sort of socialist babble like that. Socialist principals should only be considered when a government has its house in order. Ours simply does not yet and so, for the time being, nationalisation should not be considered.

  • Johann Enslin - 2012-06-12 16:18

    Nationalization calls are a misinformed idea that "wealth" will be distributed without the risk of employing any capital. This can never happen. Capital is just that. The flow of funds. To create wealth requires the intelligent application of those funds. Something a government is not capable of doing. So nationalize and be damned.

  • Erna - 2012-06-12 17:31

    Can someone who really believes that the nationalisation of the mines will bring 'economic freedom' (whatever that may entail), please explain how this will work? More handouts, more jobs, more chance for corruption, more chance for mismanagement? Seriously - please explain.

  • nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-06-13 07:32

    Well after years of reckless rhetoric from the ANC & its out of control job destroying alliance partners, they finally start to wake up, better late than never.

  • Theresa - 2012-06-13 07:33

    I am amazed that there are so many people who believe that nationalization will give them money personally. Our 'New South African' government has been in power for nearly 19 years and have they paid out any grants to the individuals who were previously disadvantaged? NOTHING...... I think the pattern has been established. Keep voting for them and they will believe they are empowered to do as they wish - they've proved they don't really care about the man-in-the-street.

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