SA mines nationalisation not policy: minister


Nationalisation of South Africa’s mines is not government policy, although there is healthy debate on the issue, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said today.

The militant youth wing of the ruling African National Congress reiterated yesterday it would push for the nationalisation of local industries starting with mines, saying investors afraid of the process were not welcome.
“Nationalisation of mines is not government policy. In my lifetime there will be no nationalisation of mines,” Shabangu told a media briefing at a mining conference.

ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema has been one of the most vocal campaigners for a more leftist economic policy under President Jacob Zuma. His demands include that the state should assume majority ownership of mines.

South Africa is the world’s biggest producer of platinum and one of the top producers of gold, although the influence of mining on GDP has declined, particularly as gold reserves become exhausted.

But any talk of nationalisation of mines is likely to unnerve investors already worried that Zuma could give in to pressure from labour union and communist allies who helped him to power last year. These allies are demanding a swing to the left, away from existing pro-business policies, as payback.

Mining shares on the Johannesburg bourse were not affected by Shabangu’s comments, traders said. Mining stocks such as the world’s number two platinum producer Impala Platinum and gold producer Harmony were sharply higher after global resource stocks rallied stronger.