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Shabangu: No nationalisation in my lifetime

Ben Maclennan

Susan Shabangu is still opposed to the nationalisation of mines even though the ANC is researching the issue.

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu is still opposed to the nationalisation of South Africa’s mines even though the African National Congress (ANC) is researching the issue.

“My position is that there are challenges and I’m convinced that nationalisation, it’s not an option for South Africa,” she told a media briefing on Tuesday on the sidelines of an African mining conference in Cape Town.

“I debated that some years ago and I reached a particular decision which I believe that is still correct.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Anglo American chief executive Cynthia Carroll told the conference that nationalisation would be the country’s path to ruin and would drive away billions of dollars in investments.

“Mining companies simply will not invest if they cannot be assured that the assets they create will be secure,” Agence France-Press reported Carroll as saying.

“In ignoring this truth, the false prophets who argue for nationalisation are advocating the road to ruin, a path we must not follow.”

‘Noise and support’
ANC Youth League (ANCYL) leader Julius Malema is pushing for nationalisation, and after initial resistance, the ANC last year agreed to research the issue.

Shabangu said at the 2010 mining conference that there would be no nationalisation “in my lifetime”.

She said on Tuesday that, given that there had been “noise and more support” on the issue, the ANC had a responsibility to investigate what it meant.

“But in the current environment, is nationalisation an option for us as South Africa?” she said.

“So, the work done of research and everything else going on in the ANC is precisely to substantiate the positions which will be achieved at the end of the day. I don’t know whether you have ever done an interview with Julius and asked him what informs him about nationalisation except that ‘our people are hungry’. You see?

“So, just make sure he gives you facts and substantiates how does he think that ultimately we’ll be able to implement nationalisation.

“I think that’s the space we want to occupy as the ANC: What is it that will drive us to reach the destination of nationalisation? It should be properly informed by research and data, and global practices. On the basis of that we must take a decision,” Shabangu said.

‘Misleading messages’
Reacting to a radio interview along similar lines that Shabangu gave earlier in the day, the ANCYL said it was disappointed that she had “once again” done what the ANC said she should not.

It said the ANC national general council (NGC), of which Shabangu was a member, had decided that there was “greater consensus” on nationalisation, and had therefore mandated further work, including research, study tours and discussions, ahead of a decision at the ANC’s national conference in 2012.

“For Susan Shabangu to once again pronounce false assurances to mining capitalists that ‘nationalisation is not an option’ is not only misleading, but goes against the essence of what the ANC NGC resolved,” it said.

“The ANCYL calls on the ANC to exercise maximum discipline on people who go around spreading misleading messages that altogether diminish the value of vital ANC gatherings.”

It said Carroll’s “ranting” was inspired by “the misleading messages and fiction of Susan Shabangu”.—Sapa

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