Shabangu speaks out on Hawks raid

[] — MINES Minister Susan Shabangu has described a raid on the offices of the mineral resources department (DMR) in Pretoria and Kimberley by the Hawks, the investigative unit of the South African Police Services, as “sinister” and unnecessary.

Shabangu also said steps to appoint a new director-general for the DMR would be made “within two weeks”, but stopped short of saying whether ANC spokesperson, Jimmy Manyi, would be the incumbent.

It is widely speculated that Manyi, an outspoken and controversial figure who was formerly head of the Black Managers’ Forum (BMF), was in line to take over from Sandile Noxgina who led the DMR for 13 years before his retirement last month.

Commenting on the Hawks raid last week, Shabangu said the timing of the incident was sinister as it came only weeks before the High Court was to hear an appeal by Kumba Iron Ore regarding the award by the DMR of a prospecting right to Imperial Crown Trading (ICT).

Kumba Iron Ore has alleged criminal wrong doing, saying an application for the prospecting right brought by ICT was fraudulent.

Shabangu said her ministry and the department would have cooperated with the Hawks and was therefore surprised to learn of the raid.

Miningmx heard of similar views on the matter last week in the hours after the raid with one source saying cabinet was completely blind-sided by the move. The source added that government might respond by making criminal charges of its own.


In comments to media following a presentation hosted by newspaper group, The New Age, Shabangu also provided insight into plans by the department to further the development of the state-owned mining company, African Exploration Mining and Finance Corporation (AEMFC).

AEMFC was considering plans to partner with existing mining firms on certain projects, with Shabangu confirming some expressions of interest had already been lodged with the department.

“We are particularly interested in coal-to-liquids projects,” she said, adding that the Vlakfontein coal project was progressing and that it was providing power station quality coal to Eskom, the state power utility.

Shabangu said there were no plans in the pipeline to partner with a state-owned Chinese company, which it was rumoured was working with the mines department providing it with the funds to invest in projects.