Advocate Ngoako Ramatlhodi has been named as the South Africa’s next mines minister, replacing Susan Shabangu who is moving on to the newly created Womens’ ministry, President Jacob Zuma announced on Sunday.
Zuma has stated that his latest cabinet reshuffle would “improve implementation and ensure impact” in his second and final term in office. Nevertheless, this appointment has drawn criticism from the mining industry.
“The position should have been given to a person experienced in this field and able to bring critical stakeholders together to address the serious energy sustainability issues in South Africa,” said Business Unity South Africa (Busa) Acting CEO Cas Coovadia in a statement written in response to Zuma’s announcement.
Instead, Ramatlhodi brings a controversial background to his new position – one of corruption probe regarding a property deal, controversially shelved by the Scorpions in 2008, according to the Mail & Guardian.
“He is a clumsy politician, right of the ANC, a nationalist, and he has spoken out about constitution. This will be a very difficult period of time for mines and international investment and confidence in this country. It suggests the idea – not of nationalisation – but certainly of building a government stake and then transferring power to black ownership will be much higher on the agenda in that sector,” Richard Calland, associate professor in the Public Law department at the University of Cape Town told Talk Radio 702.
Furthermore, Ramatlhodi’s appointment adds uncertainty to prospects for ending the ongoing four-month strike in the platinum sector. Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum (Implats) and Lonmin have reported losses of R19.5 billion in revenue, while employees’ losses in wages are currently at R8.6 billion, severely affecting the country’s economic growth.
“Everyone will be holding their breath for the next month. An unknown is never a plus, especially coming into a high profile ministry that generates more than half of our foreign exchange and with the longest, costliest and messiest strike we have ever had on our hands,” said Peter Major, a fund manager at Cadiz Corporate Solutions.
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Controversial appointment of Ramatlhodi as next mines minister draws criticism
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