Shabangu: Constitution guides mines debate

[] – MINERAL Resources Minister, Susan Shabangu,
confirmed today a morning meeting at the ANC’s National Executive Committee
(NEC), but was unsure whether it would review findings of a study reportedly
rejecting nationalisation of South Africa’s mining industry.

Business Day said that the report, commissioned by government last year, indicated
that nationalisation was unconstitutional and too expensive. It said the NEC would
discuss the report further.

Shabangu said the constitutionality of mines nationalisation would have a bearing on
the discussion. Shabangu said she hadn’t seen the report.

She added however: “The MPRDA [Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development
Act] already decided that mineral rights reside with the state.”

“I have not seen the report. I am going to the National Executive Committee [NEC]
meeting today, but I haven’t seen the agenda so I don’t know if we will discuss the

One argument sometimes marshalled against nationalisation is that mineral rights had
already been nationalised by the MPRDA, although lawyers argue the technical
questions as to whether the government’s ‘custodianship’ of minerals actually equals

Business Day said the report had recommended that taxes could be increased on the
industry, while royalties would be lowered.

Shabangu said that “interested parties” use the media to push their own agendas.
She declined to comment on specifics of the report.

“It is a discussion. If they think this will work for South Africa, they have to say
how,” she said. “The issue of nationalisation is about what you want for South

Shabangu, who was appearing at the McCloskey Coal Conference in Cape Town, had
some choice words for those appearing to undermine South Africa’s empowerment
strategies, including companies participating in “fronting’, or false empowerment.

“You will bear the consequences and curse the day when you decided to front,’ she
said to stunned silence in the auditorium.

“There are elements that keep new players out of the junior mining sector. I know
some of you are good at taking me to court, but I will expose you and show the
world that you are a fake,’ she said.

Shabangu also announced the formation of a coal sector subcommittee which would
fall under the aegis of the MIGDETT organisation. Its intention was to “devise a
strategy for its survival and prosperity,” Shabangu said.