/ 8 December 2009

Malema says govt must go after gold, platinum mines

Gold and platinum mines should be nationalised first as they were the most profitable, African National Congress Youth League president Julius Malema said in Durban on Monday.

”We must look at profitable minerals as the ones that should be targeted first. Platinum, which is easily found in Rustenburg, is still very easy to mine because it is still very shallow. The same applies to coal found in Witbank,” Malema told the SA Students’ Congress at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban.

Malema said transferring ownership of mines to the state should not be seen as a complicated process.

”This is happening in Botswana, where De Beers are in partnership with the state. The state owns 60% of its minerals and De Beers even pays tax.”

The league had recently come under fire for its calls for mines to be nationalised.

”We are told we are going to scare the markets if we continue talking about this issue. If the markets want something they will stay. Markets continue to go to countries where there are civil wars.”

One of the reasons the league wanted to nationalise mines was to reduce income inequalities.

”The gap between rich and poor is very big. White males continue to be rich. The issue needs to be addressed.”

Malema conceded he was not an economist and was uneducated. He only had a matric with very poor marks. What he did know, he said, was that the state must have a controlling stake in the mining industry.

Speaking on the importance of education in South Africa, he said it was the best gift to a nation. As long as people continued to remain uneducated they stayed dependent on the state.

”If you don’t have economic freedom you have nothing.”

He criticised media reports about President Jacob Zuma that questioned his appointment of Menzi Simelane as National Director of Public Prosecutions.

”Every moment they [the media] get they use it to discredit Zuma. Every time Zuma appoints someone with a weakness they use it against him.” – Sapa