Jul 13, 2012
Gold|Johannesburg|London|Mangaung|Melbourne|Africa|AngloGold Ashanti|Resources|Safety|Africa|South Africa|Mining|Positive Spin-off|Mark Cutifani
© Reuse this
There is less consensus, however, on whether mining has been a true engine of social development. There is even less agreement on whether it has helped or hindered the process of social cohesion. Many would argue, for instance, that the mining sector never truly valued the lives of black South Africans, as evidenced by its dismal safety record. Others would also highlight the fact that the wealth generated from the country’s natural endowments has never been adequately shared.
Divergent opinions on the role of mining in the South African economy have come to the fore primarily as a response to efforts aimed at dealing with what was quite a forceful call for mine nationalisation – a policy proposal at the centre of the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League’s demand for ‘economic freedom in our lifetime’.
To some extent, the abrasive tone adopted by the youth body has already exacted a toll on the industry, where production growth and investment rates were already lacklustre when compared with other resource-rich economies.
The evidence is mostly anecdotal, but it appears that the national-isation rhetoric has cast a pall over boardrooms, and not only in the mining sector.
It did not help that the domestic industry was unable to provide an immediate counterweight, owing partly to the fact that its current leadership lacks the gravitas of previous generations – a reality that probably has a lot to do with the fact that the centre of the South African mining leadership universe is no longer Johannesburg, but rather London and Melbourne.
One positive spin-off from the nationalisation rhetoric, though, is that it has served to highlight the importance of mining and shine a spotlight on its potential as an agent for growth, development and job creation. In other words, it has also created an opportunity for a vital conversation about the role of mining in the economy and in supporting the aspirations of a national democratic society.
Somewhat ironically, it was a non-South African, AngloGold Ashanti CEO Mark Cutifani, who was able to grasp the fact that it was as much an opportunity as a threat. Doubly ironic – given that gold is unlikely to attract the much-feared ‘strategic’ mineral label (a title that has price-control connotations), owing to a view within the ANC that the gold sector is in secular decline.
The level of the potential conversation has also been raised by the ANC-commissioned ‘State Intervention in the Minerals Sector’ document, which not only interrogates mining regimes in a number of countries but also teases out some of the key contri- butions that mining could make to dealing with the problems of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
It is now up to the mining industry to engage, so that those truly concerned with effective, rather than merely rhetorical, policy will be able to sharpen their arguments ahead of the big gathering in Mangaung this December.
Edited by: Terence Creamer© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Editorial Insight News
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
This Week's Magazine
The broad-based black economic-empowerment (BBBEE) alignment process in the con-struction sector has begun, dur-ing which the sector codes of the Construction Sector Charter Council (CSCC) will be aligned with the revised Codes of Good Practice (CoGP), which come...
It is second time lucky for Toby Venter. Ten years ago he negotiated to buy the Kyalami racetrack, but “the deal did not materialise”.
Environmental solutions company I-Cat started construction work on its R22-million, 1 949 m2 environmentally sustainable office and warehouse facility, commissioned by I-CAT Environmental Solutions, at a launch event in October. The new sustainable I-CAT campus,...
Effective file synchronisation and sharing across an organisation’s structures can provide the basis for robust mobile-device and document management while maintaining proper backup, version control and content distribution. These are the lessons learned by complex...
Hotel group Carlson Rezidor currently holds the largest hotel pipeline in Africa with 30 hotels and 6 300 rooms under development. The hotel group develops and operates Radisson Blu in the upper upscale segment and Park Inn by Radisson in the mid-market segment. With...