THE Minerals Council South Africa was “willing to play its part” by means of a social compact following comments by President Cyril Ramaphosa to rebuild the economy using the mining sector as one of its principal levers.
It warned, however, that a multiplicity of reforms and improvements to governance and business climate had to be overcome in order to convert plans to reality. These included the liberalisation of freight and port infrastructure, the overhaul of the energy sector and tougher treatment of illegal mining and industry corruption.
“If all these issues were to be addressed, we estimate that mineral sales could increase by R61bn and tax revenues by R5bn; 70,000 jobs could be saved; 26,000 additional direct mining jobs and 47,000 additional indirect jobs could be created in the next four years,” said Roger Baxter, CEO of the council.
“We must address the key issues which undermine our relative competitiveness and impede our growth potential as a country,” he said.
“Like the rest of the economy, the mining industry has significant potential, and if the issues holding it back were to be addressed, this potential could be unleashed, enabling the industry and the country to embark on a new path of inclusive growth and investment, and ultimately, a better future for all.”
Baxter also welcomed the relaxation of lockdown conditions associated with the control of the Covid-19 disease in South Africa. On Wednesday Ramaphosa said South Africa’s level of lockdown would be reduced to its lowest, a step that reopens international borders – a critical development in order to restore the tourism sector.