NEAL Froneman, CEO of Sibanye-Stillwater, has delivered among his sternest critiques of the South African government telling BusinessLive, a digital publication, there was no point in showcasing the country’s mining sector unless there was structural change in the business environment.
Froneman has laid into the South African government, especially over the last 12 months. In May, he criticised the government’s handling of Covid-19 hard lockdown which he said should have been relaxed sooner.
In February last year, he said the government had only sought to penalise the mining sector for its legacy, instead of focusing on future benefits it could bring through investment.
Froneman’s other recent brush with the authorities was in November after mines and energy minister, Gwede Mantashe criticised the company for illegally seeking to extend its black economic empowerment credits. Sibanye-Stillwater rejected the allegation.
Froneman told BusinessLive today that: “We need to get a fat wake-up call: the priority needs to move to creating an investor-friendly environment.
“We’ve got to have commercial views of the country and [the government has] done nothing, nothing to actually stimulate investment interest. I don’t think [it knows] how investors think, to be blunt”.
Froneman added it was “an embarrassment” a more positive message wasn’t spun at the recent Mining Indaba investment conference in which President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered a keynote speech.
“It’s absolutely atrocious that … one of the premier mining events in the world gets so little recognition from our government. It’s a showcase, yet you’ve got countries like Botswana that steal the limelight and will continue to steal the limelight because they have an investor-friendly environment.”
Sibanye-Stillwater is due to report its full-year results on February 18.