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Nationalisation of SA mines on the table

Jessie Duarte,
ANC spokesperson
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 07 July 2009 – South Africa’s ruling African National Congress says it is open to discussing demands by its labour union allies to consider nationalising the country’s mines, which lead world production of platinum and rank No.3 in gold.
“The ANC regards the current discourse on this matter to be neither a revolt nor a fight,” spokeswoman Jessie Duarte said in an e-mail to Bloomberg News. “It is a debate we welcome.”

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), which forms part of the country’s ruling alliance, has called on the ANC to implement the Freedom Charter of 1955, which backed the nationalisation of mines. While the charter remains official ANC policy, the party never followed through on its threat to seize businesses after taking power in all-race elections in 1994.

“Nationalisation of the mines is particularly relevant in the light of the global financial crisis and the massive job losses in the mining sector,” Cosatu said in an e-mail. “The people of South Africa should share and benefit from South Africa’s mineral wealth.”

About 25,000 jobs in the country’s mining industry have been lost as a result of the global recession, according to the mines ministry.

“The ANC has taken several steps to ensure that South African mineral wealth is equitably shared,” Duarte said. “These include passing laws giving the state ownership over all mineral deposits, and forcing companies to sell shares to black investors,” she added.

“An impression that the leadership of the ANC is resisting the transformation of ownership of mineral and petroleum resources is incorrect,” said Duarte. “We have laid a firm foundation, and the task ahead is one of implementation.”