Mines minister 'has declared war'

2010-02-03 11:15

Johannesburg - Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu's comments on the nationalisation of mines are "a declaration of war", the SA Students' Congress (Sasco) said on Wednesday.

It was reacting to the minister's comments made on Tuesday at a media congress at the Mining Indaba.

"In my lifetime there'll be no nationalisation," Shabangu said.

However, Sasco condemned what it termed the minister's "arrogant remarks".

"We view her glib statements as populist and they smack of gratuitous disrespect for the ANC electorate that elected her and the ANC to government."

Sasco said the expropriation of South Africa's natural resources occurred through "a bloody and violent process" by domestic and international capital.

"We also know that the domestic bourgeoisie and its stooges such as Susan Shabangu will not allow a peaceful transfer of wealth to the people."

It viewed the minister's statements as "a declaration of war" to which it would respond.

"Nationalisation whether Shabangu likes it or not will occur within our lifetime and surely within hers; unless she will die young," Sasco said.

If the minister was "prepared to reduce herself into being a representative of big business and mining multinationals", Sasco was willing and ready to wage war against her and her position.

"We see nationalisation as urgent and necessary to transform the South African economy.

"It is for this reason that we are forever willing to enter the fray in order to ensure the complete nationalisation of mines and the rest of the South African economy in order to achieve free education in particular."

Sasco said it knew that the struggle for economic freedom and socialism would not be "polite and friendly".

Asked to clarify what Shabangu had said at the media conference on Tuesday, her spokesperson Jeremy Michaels said on Wednesday there was no mention of nationalisation of mines in government's policy.

"South Africa is a stable and thriving democracy and debates about policy are indeed signs of a healthy democracy.

"Those debates will continue... what is important is that there is clarity about government policy."

Michaels said government did not have a policy to nationalise the mines.

"Furthermore, the mineral wealth of South Africa is vested in the state as declared in the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act."

- Sapa