Govt scrambles to calm investors

2012-09-30 15:30

Johannesburg - Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu will visit India in a month’ time as part of her crusade to assure international investors that South Africa is a safe destination for their money.

On Thursday Moody’s Investors Service downgraded South Africa’s credit rating by one notch, citing concerns about the government’s ability to tackle economic problems and a “decline in the government’s institutional strength.”

Shabangu, however, said the mining crisis was not a factor in Moody’s decision, because threat of a downgrade had been looming on the horizon for a while. 

As wildcat strikes continue to spread in the mining sector, questions are being asked by the international community about whether the government is still in control.

Shabangu said investors in India were keen to hear what the government was doing about the ongoing mining crisis.

Meanwhile, labour federation Cosatu announced on Saturday that it will, together with its affiliate the National Union of Mineworkers, lead the wildcat strikes. 

Cosatu is trying to restore its own credibility and that of the Num after miners in several companies decided to negotiate salary increases without the union.

General secretary Zwelinzima Vavi on Saturday told striking Gold Fields [JSE:GFI] KDC West miners the Num had agreed to join the workers in their fight for better wages.

Vavi said Cosatu and the Num would lead a march to Gold Fields management in Klerksdorp, and later plan another march to the Chamber of Mines in Johannesburg.

“If they fire you they must know that an injury to one is an injury to all,” Vavi said.

“Num will stand by you to ensure that if you’re fired, you’re reinstated.”

Cosatu will hold a special national executive committee meeting this week to discuss the implementation of last week’s congress resolution which called for an investigation into miners’ working conditions.

President Sdumo Dlamini said there was also a fear that the rejection of Num by mine workers accusing it of being ineffective may also affect another affiliate, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa.

“It’s about ultimately breaking Cosatu. If you want to break Cosatu, you start with the biggest affiliate in a sector that is vulnerable and with illiterate people who are desperate for a decent wage.”

Shabangu, an ANC national executive committee member, said the strikes had nothing to do with the governing party’s leadership race ahead of its December elective conference in Mangaung, Free State.

“What we are seeing are worker demands which are sporadic,” she said, adding that the unprotected strikes could not be sustained for longer periods.

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  • mark.haupt.31 - 2012-09-30 15:51

    Good luck to you Ms Shabangu, if all you are seeing are "sporadic worker demands". We're actually in deep trouble, in more ways than you seem to realize.

      mattewis.kat - 2012-09-30 16:45

      You took the words right out of my mouth! The crisis is only about to start! Shame,even for an ANC cadre, lying on this monumental scale as well as pretending that your investors are stupid, must be really difficult!

      gieljam.gomtor - 2012-09-30 16:55

      The once stuffed to the brim and overflowing platter is fast getting devoured and even shrinking soon to be on the rim.

      christelle.james.7 - 2012-09-30 16:56

      So whilst you are fighting for investments, Cosatu and NUM are ensuring your trip and efforts to be a waste of time and money. You talk one thing, they do another! Shame on the people of our country.

      christelle.james.7 - 2012-09-30 16:58

      Mattewis, just saw your post - I agree, they think international voters on the same level of intelligence as their uneducated voters. We have become the laughing stock of the world!

      nicholas.graan - 2012-09-30 16:59

      If they just did the basics right like not pandering to trade unions and started creating a business and trade friendly environment like most developing countries do, there would be no need to "scramble" to calm foreign investors. Instead they choose the confrontation path (mainly due to low self esteem and a large chip on the shoulder) and are constantly threatening and attacking big business and the mining sector in particular.

      marcusvandermerwe - 2012-09-30 22:20

      Unfortunately we (readers at News24) are armchair critics. We will watch and laugh as our country fails, until reality sets in. SA does not belong to the ANC. White people today forget that their superior position in SA came through the loss of life and centuries of hard labour. The same goes for those who was liberated from apartheid. Today's generation are too scarred to get their hands dirty, they would rather sit and critisize here on news24. (and yes me too) If Zim had to start doing things right tomorrow, it wouls still take decades for them to undo the economic damage. SA is years, or maybe months away from that tipping point, yet we still see the humour in it. You will never in your lifetime see SA the way it still is or was. The majority of SA will still vote ANC, not even knowing what a downgrade means. Democracy is therefore not the solution to our current crisis. We need to become active participants in demanding an accountable government (comments on news24 don't count). We need to do this by all means necessary or face the unthinkable.

      Bruce - 2012-10-01 02:40

      How much does a miner in Australia earn? Do they also live in shacks? How do working conditions compare? What about the fatality rates? Lastly, why does a mining company treat its employees in SA differently to their employees in Australia when they are doing the same job? South Africans demands a living wage and decent shelter as their 1st world counterparts and they are told it would be unaffordable. Why is this the case? Race perhaps???

      heinrich.etsebeth - 2012-10-01 06:57

      @Bruce: Pal the cost of extracting minerals from our soil is much higher than most other countries and it is not primarily due to salaries. The main reason is the costs involved of going deep enough into the earth in order to extract the resources that is available. This also makes our mines more dangerous than most. Next thing you have to remember is that a coal mine in Auz that is roughly the same size as Hotazel, right here in SA, carries less than half the complement of staff. More staff for the same productivity equals the same amount budgeted for wages spread across a workforce where each individual has a diminished capacity for carrying out his/her work compared to their foreign counterparts.

      alf.pop - 2012-10-01 14:12

      The main problem is the incomptent and corrupt leadership! What she reads into Moody's downgrading is totally different to that of people who actually can read!

  • claudia.meads - 2012-09-30 16:02

    Ha, ha, ha... More downgrades are coming. Let us see them doing their traditional dances then...

      ianon.ym - 2012-09-30 16:54

      I agree, lets see what it will be blamed on, as certainly no-one can blame the superb ANC leadership, headed by it's supreme loincloth wearing leader, The Assagai. :))

      amanda.victor.92 - 2012-10-01 04:20

      For years the ANC have pushed their communist trade union, anti-business, nationalising model as wealth creating. Nothing could be further from the truth. It just sounds good to people who don't have much. Now those people have even less under this plan, with the ANC fat cats eating sushi and caviar in their mansions. It's the communist way - the only people not living as communists are those in power. Everyone else suffers equally.

  • Shirley Van Heerden - 2012-09-30 16:23

    Liar Liar!!!! pants on fire!!!

  • stephen.redford.16 - 2012-09-30 16:27

    The point is investors money isn't safe. Random new taxes from Government, strike action is going to roll through the industry - government needs to deliver services not mining companies. There is more than enough tax being paid.

  • Rob Allen - 2012-09-30 16:46

    eish we wunt we wunt and now what clowns?

  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-09-30 16:47

    I would not invest in this country.

      marcusvandermerwe - 2012-09-30 22:27

      Actually SA has world class institutions. The JSE still delivers above average returns, while EU and US can hardly produce anything above zero right now. It's these few remaining institutions that keeps SA breathing. The question is, for how long?

  • bbooyse - 2012-09-30 16:48

    Too little too late.........

  • harold.parsons.37 - 2012-09-30 16:49

    How do I as a South African investor start making my money safe and still get a good return if the increases are bigger than my inflationary returns. Mr Ramaposa Mr Vavi tell us what you fellow South Africans must do with their money if we cant invest in Cosatu or Lonmin

  • Zahir - 2012-09-30 16:51

    Damage control

  • henk.vanrensburg.31 - 2012-09-30 16:53

    Just nationalise the lot so that we can get it done and over with. Rather a bullet to the head than the current cancer...

  • Clayton Richard Delport - 2012-09-30 16:53

    And yet they still want to chase us into the "sea" :) let the investors leave was the ancyl comments...? Eish.....

  • njdejager - 2012-09-30 16:54

    Rather run the country properly and stop wasting money! You got it all wrong MINISTER?????

  • kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-09-30 17:07

    They are not as gullible as the ANC supporters!

  • juan.prinsloo.750 - 2012-09-30 17:12

    How pathetic, now we want to close the stable door after the horse has bolted. Well investors are still going to leave this country in drobes, savage workers that just want to demand and destroy, and a useless government, what a combination.

  • pieriewaaier.zooms - 2012-09-30 17:18

    I wonder why she's off to India of all places? After that China, I assume being BRIC and all that. But question: Do they exercise a determining influence on the investment environment of international investors in South Africa? Secondly, and I hope she understands this very basic axiom, the climate for investments and associated risks are not just about strikes, etc but any assessment woth its money looks at all risk factors of socio-political and economic nature. And can she as Minister of Mines speak with authority on all of these issues with Mangaung 2012 looming? No, she can't! So, wasting money on a buying spree trip in India. Good luck but to no avail at all!

  • Mike Peach - 2012-09-30 18:19

    Its bad when you bull dust yourself,bunch of rots.

  • sj.fourie.56 - 2012-09-30 18:27

    Lol blame the ancyl

  • ipeleng.molaba - 2012-09-30 18:42

    She must b assuring strikng mine workrs dat dey wil gt wt dey wnt nd desrve... Rathr dan gng 2 India nd telng invstors production no money..Viva J Malema viva

      clifton.evans.79 - 2012-09-30 19:15

      Can anyone tell me what language this is?

      phillys.winterbottom - 2012-10-01 10:06

      clifton, its called "stupid" language, and is used by ex limpopo high school students who neva got a real "edukeshin" thick as mud.

  • erneyb - 2012-09-30 20:13

    Minister Shabangu, I hope you read: "decline in the government's institutional strenght" is Moody's saying in PC language 'institutional corruption is declining' to put it mildely. Lucky for you, no Indian minister will address corruption because they, as the S.A. government, thinks the word corruption means 'affirmative economic empowerment'.

  • tiaan.dippenaar.1 - 2012-09-30 21:39

    "threat of a downgrade had been looming on the horizon for a while." - So why do you only act now Ms Shabangu? Why does the crisis always have to happen first before this government of ours take action? Hey, here is an idea: Spend that R203 million meant for Zuma's house on our economy. Also listen to the DA and implement the Youth Wage Subsidy...

  • nico.dejongh.90 - 2012-09-30 22:48

    Goodbye investors... hello poverty... the real one.

  • dallas.eckert - 2012-10-01 07:44

    Seems like Juju's plan to undo the ANC is working, pity it will take us taxpayers down too.

  • dallas.eckert - 2012-10-01 07:45

    Well done ANC voters, you are getting what you voted for!!!

  • tony.vanniekerk.35 - 2012-10-01 09:18

    If only all the energy could be spent promoting business rather than fighting fires.

  • pieter.scholtz1 - 2012-10-01 20:00

    I agree with 'vandermerwe'. We can't afford to be passive about what is taking place here.

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