16 January 2013

South Africa: Shabangu's Attitude Puts Mining Industry At Risk

Workers at three of Anglo American Platinum's mines in South Africa have gone on an illegal strike. It started one day after the company said it ... ( Resource: Workers Strike at South Africa's Amplats )

press release

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu must take responsibility for the conditions in South Africa that are causing the mining industry to contract and shed jobs. Instead, she is playing the blame game, accusing Amplats of 'acting in bad faith' and making a 'unilateral decision' to close shafts and lose 14 000 jobs.

Minister Shabangu still does not appear to grasp the concept that mining is not an endless cash cow. She must start to understand that unless mining companies can operate profitably, they cannot create jobs. It is unrealistic to expect the industry to both create jobs and pay much higher taxes. Minister Shabangu and her party need to realise that they cannot have it both ways.

The DA will continue to oppose government's attempts to limit raw material exports and impose a super-tax on 'excessive' profits. I will also be writing to the chair of the mining portfolio committee to call Minister Shabangu to appear before Parliament and explain her failure to take responsibility for predictable job losses. In addition, I will reiterate the DA's call for a joint parliamentary task team to be established to investigate the conditions in the mining industry that continue to wreak social devastation.

Under Minister Shabangu's tenure the mining industry has been labouring under policy uncertainty, including threats of a super-tax, imposed limits on raw material exports and licensing rights confusion. The industry has also borne the brunt of rising input costs (largely thanks to administered prices from Eskom); rising costs of extraction; fluctuating global demand and a labour union regime that ignores workers' rights for the sake of political gain.

South Africa's mining industry has contracted at a rate of 1% per annum, yet the industry has grown at an annual average rate of 5% in the countries comprising our 20 top competitors. Mining is the backbone of the economy and, thanks to Minister Shabangu's inability to transform the business environment, there is a serious risk that it may contract even further. Amplats alone will be investing only R100bn in capital expenditure over the next ten years; 25% less than initially intended.

Mining could provide a solid foundation for flourishing economic growth if government and the ruling party abandoned their ideological fallacies and did what was in the best interests of the country and all South Africans - create an enabling environment in which business can flourish and more jobs are created

James Lorimer, Shadow Minister of Mining

Copyright © 2013 Democratic Alliance. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.