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ANC says mine nationalisation ‘off the table’

Published on 20/12/2012

South Africa's ruling ANC distanced itself on Thursday from those within the party calling for nationalisation of the mining sector, the latest in a series of steps to reassure jittery foreign investors.

A resolution passed by members at the ANC’s five-yearly conference rejected proposals to nationalise the economically vital mines, effectively killing a rancorous debate on the subject.

“The issue of nationalisation as we have discussed it over the last few months is off the table,” Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said announcing the decision, meaning the matter is no longer under consideration.

The move is a major defeat for the left of the ruling party, and caps a concerted effort by leadership to firm up its pro-business credentials.

At a policy meeting in June the ANC backed “strategic nationalisation”.

Opening the conference on Sunday, President Jacob Zuma was at pains to stress the government backed a “mixed economy.”

Addressing investors, Zuma said he wanted to “dismiss the perceptions that our country is falling apart”.

Zuma also backed businessman Cyril Ramaphosa as his deputy president, in a move welcomed by investors.

Credit ratings agencies had warned that the country could get further ratings downgrades as a result of the conference.

The party did hint at a higher burden on mining companies, saying the state must capture “an equitable share of mineral resources through the tax system,” but stopped well short of demanding a new mining tax.