Mantashe Sibanye

South Africans are known for using the term ‘just now’ when referring to something is going to happen. However, the term refers to an unknown amount of time – it could happen in a few minutes, a few months, maybe even never.

Take for example, loadshedding, otherwise known throughout the world as rolling blackouts. Not long ago, we were told that it would be a thing of the past. I guess they mean loadshedding will end just now.

Or how about bringing corrupt officials to book. That is also expected to happen just now which in this case could mean never.

Now, our very own mining minister, Gwede Mantashe, seems to be adept at talking about plans but not good at implementing them. Speaking at the 131st AGM of the Minerals Council South Africa, Mantashe outlined a plan that he believes will result in the mining sector contributing 12% to the country’s GDP in the near future. Currently, this figure stands at around 8%.

Gwede Mantashe: A man split in two

His plan includes the following:

  • A robust exploration programme;
  • Investment into research and development;
  • Investment into new mineral processing technologies; and
  • Investments into artisanal and small-scale mining.

It is commendable that such a plan is in place, however, my issue is that every time the honourable minister is given a soap box to preach from, he sings from the hymn sheet. What he mentioned at the AGM is nothing new.

In my opinion, if I had to ask Mantashe when exactly these plans are going to be put in place to revive the country’s mining sector, I am sure the answer will be “just now”.

Mr Minister, it’s time to stop playing these delaying tactics – less talk and more action is what is needed right now, not just now.