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Under-pressure Zwane to preach on radical economic transformation

Aug 17 2017 14:30
Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town - Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane will deliver a speech to the Black Business Council on the topic of radical economic transformation on Friday.

This comes as the mines minister is facing increasing pressure from the mining sector over new regulations and is also implicated in the #GuptaLeaks saga.

Bloomberg reported that President Jacob Zuma – hours before learning his fate in the vote of no confidence on August 8 – said he would consider firing Zwane if he remained president.

“Removing Zwane, who has also been accused of being too close to the wealthy (Gupta) family, may placate some of Zuma’s critics amid a battle with mining companies over new empowerment regulations,” Bloomberg reported.

“Zwane has clashed with mining companies and his own colleagues after he released a charter to govern the racial transformation of the industry,” it said. “The industry is challenging the charter in court, arguing that there wasn’t enough consultation and that the rules to boost black participation will make mining unprofitable.”

After the Mining Charter made its way to court, he then incensed the mining sector further by announcing a freeze on granting and renewing mining rights. However, he pulled the plug on this idea shortly afterwards.

As Zwane’s fate hangs by a thread, his move to address the Black Business Council’s business breakfast on Friday will give him a welcome reprieve.

“The minister will highlight the importance and the need of intensifying the programme of economic transformation, through the development and beneficiation of the country’s mineral resources, for the benefit of all South Africans,” his department said in a statement on Thursday.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has sought to improve the term by calling for "radical socio-economic transformation", while former finance minister Pravin Gordhan has continuously emphasised the need for "inclusive growth".

Interestingly, Zuma mentioned "inclusive growth" five times in his speech at the Symposium of the Governors of the Association of African Central Banks in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The event is scheduled to take place at 07:00 on Friday at the Houghton Golf Course in Johannesburg.

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