Cosatu urges rejection of BHP’s Anglo takeover proposal

SOUTH Africa’s main union federation has come out against BHP’s proposed takeover of Anglo American urging the Public Investment Corporation, which manages government pensions and owns about 14% of Anglo, to vote against it.

Bloomberg News quoted a statement from the Congress of South African Unions (Cosatu) in which the union said it was “deeply concerned about the possible sale of Anglo assets in South Africa to BHP”. Cosatu then said it wanted the assets to remain South African owned.

In terms of BHP’s takeover proposal, made public on April 25 and rejected by Anglo on the same day, the Australian firm wants to first unbundle Anglo’s 79% owned Anglo American Platinum and the 70% owned Kumba Iron Ore – both of which are listed in Johannesburg.

Cosatu is a key ally of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress and President Cyril Ramaphosa was a co-founder of the National Union of Mineworkers, said Bloomberg News. The bid from BHP comes before a national election later this month, which could see the ANC lose its majority for the first time since winning power in 1994, the newswire said.

Said Cosatu: “These companies were built on the back of South African mine workers and pension funds. The profit they generate is needed to grow the economy and create decent jobs”.

BHP executives, including CEO Mike Henry, arrived in South Africa last week in order to hold meetings. Henry was described as being in “listening mode”. it’s unclear whether he has met with Gwede Mantashe, a former unionist and current mines and energy minister.