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Mine nationalisation not viable for South Africa: minister

Nationalising South Africa’s mines is not a viable option for the country’s key sector and has been ruled out by the ruling party, Mining Minister Susan Shabangu said Tuesday.

“We have consistently maintained that nationalisation is not the policy either of government or the ruling party,” Shabangu told delegates at a conference on investing in African mining.

The African National Congress (ANC) has dismissed a state takeover of the industry, which has been pushed by the party’s fiery youth league, and will adopt a policy position that is in South Africa’s best interests, said Shabangu, who is also a member of the ANC’s national executive committee.

“We welcome the fact that the report of the ANC task team on nationalisation has reinforced the ANC’s earlier decision that nationalisation is not a viable policy for South Africa,” she said.

“This is not a surprise, we have emphasised this before.”

However, Shabangu took mining companies to task for dragging their heels in implementing mining policies, failing to meet social needs and for practices like fronting black partners to score points under the country’s affirmative action legislation.

The government has been at pains to distance itself from radicals in the ANC who have been calling for the key platinum and gold producer’s mines to be nationalised and profits redirected to the millions of blacks still living in poverty 18 years after the end of apartheid.

South Africa holds 88 percent of the world’s platinum reserves and 30 percent of its gold reserves.