Sunday, December 17, 2017
Sipho Pityana

Sipho Pityana

AngloGold Ashanti

THE discontent among South Africa’s mining executives regarding the malfeasance of President Jacob Zuma’s administration had been growing – one thinks of Sibanye Gold’s Neal Froneman and Steve Phiri of Royal Bafokeng Platinum. None captured that discontent with the brio of Pityana, however. Speaking at the Joburg Mining Indaba in September, he dubbed Zuma the ‘sponsor-in-chief’ of national corruption. It would be an under-statement to say Pityana expressed the corporate mood: the audience rose to its feet in applause. One wonders, however, whether his blunt outspokenness – which has been extended to the founding of a civil group, Save South Africa - will bring misery to the company he chairs. One mote of conspiracy theory doing the rounds is that uppity mining leaders are censured by the Department of Mineral Resources’ safety officers who distribute Section 54 work stoppages as if they were confetti. Perhaps guarding against such action, AngloGold won an important court case against the implementation of such a stoppage at its Kopanang mine. Far from the sex and violence of South African politics, there is the business of overseeing a mining company board. AngloGold has been unique among South African gold miners for keeping its wallet in its pocket, preferring to seek organic growth instead of indulging in merger and acquisition activity.


Sipho Pityana, best remembered as the director-general of foreign affairs between 1999 and 2002, has a broad and varied history on a range of boards and in consultancies. He has a BA. (Hons.) in Government and Sociology and an MSc. in Politics and Sociology from the University of Essex.

“We have a president who is, in fact, the sponsor-in-chief of corruption.”