Motsepe backs nationalisation of mines

Businessman Patrice Motsepe would back nationalising the country’s mines if it was in the country’s best interests, SABC radio reported on Tuesday.

“My belief has always been, if nationalisation is what is in the best interests of South Africa, I’ll support it, whether it’s nationalisation, or whether it’s socialism—if the policies are what will improve, uplift and create a better lifestyle, better living conditions…” the billionaire and executive chairperson of African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) said at a handover of a rural upliftment project in Limpopo.

African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) leader Julius Malema recently made the call for mines to be put in the state’s hands, raising the ire of opposition parties and organised business.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) called for Motsepe’s wealth to be nationalised last month after the Sunday Times “Rich List” showed that Motsepe was the richest South African with R14,2-billion.

But ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe slammed the calls, putting it down to jealousy.

The mining magnate made the Forbes world’s billionaire list last year at $2,4-billion, $0,1-billion short of talk-show queen Oprah Winfrey.

Motsepe has built $875-million mining conglomerate, ARM, with interests in a wide swathe of minerals: precious metals (platinum and its cousins), nickel, chrome, iron, manganese and coal, according to Forbes.

He is seen to have benefited from government’s black economic empowerment (BEE) laws, which mandate that companies be at least 26% black-owned in order to get a government mining licence.

Motsepe recently turned down the opportunity to become Sanlam’s chairperson, due to “his extensive business commitments and obligations”. He has previously denied any political ambitions saying: “the day I go into politics, people must take me to a doctor and say he has lost it”.—Sapa


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