Three heavy-hitters call for unity

Calls for business to urge the government to effectively implement existing polices and visions

Three-heavy-hitters-call-for-unity
Kopanang

Thirty-three prominent business figures, including acting Lonmin CEO Simon Scott, Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland and AngloGold Ashanti CEO Mark Cutifani, have called for unity among businesses to arrest a decline in confidence in South Africa’s future, warning the country could unravel if challenges in education, corruption and unemployment were left unresolved. 

They did so in an open letter published in City Press and the Sunday Times on the eve of the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) electoral conference in Mangaung where major policy decisions on South Africa’s economic trajectory will be made. This is expected to include a mining policy in respect ofa clear stance on nationalisation of mines  and on mining taxes.

The signatories offered their assistance to the government but challenged it to implement its policies and the National Development Plan (NDP).

They said South Africa had "previously been able to find common ground and put ideologies aside in the spirit of national building".

The signatories called for more productive engagement with the state and civil society, and additional commitment from business to the NDP’s objectives, including that of an economy three times its present size and an unemployment rate of 6%, by 2030.

Other signatories include newly appointed Telkom chairman Jabu Mabuza, Old Mutual emerging markets unit CE Ralph Mupita, Nedbank Group CEO Mike Brown, Investec CEO Stephen Koseff, Shell South Africa chairman and Black Management Forum president Bonang Mohale, and Business Leadership South Africa CEO Thero Setiloane.

The letter calls for business to urge the government to leverage and effectively implement existing polices and visions, to rebuild confidence in labour market institutions and to promote appropriate education and skills development. It also commits them to promoting "a zero-tolerance approach to bribery, fraud, corruption and anticompetitive business practices".

Active business leaders have decried the state of South Africa’s leadership this year, particularly in the wake of the labour unrest that took place in the mining sector.

The ANC will resolve numerous economic policy issues at its elective congress next week.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet has approved the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill, with the hope that it will fill gaps that has made South Africa among the worst regulated mineral-rich countries.

Speaking at Thursday’s post-Cabinet briefing, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said the draft bill would give effect to section 24 of the constitution by ensuring that the nation’s minerals were developed in an orderly manner, while promoting justifiable social and economic development. 

The bill is intended to make provision for the implementation of the approved beneficiation strategy through which minerals can be processed locally for a higher value, and make provision for mineral rights to fall within the insolvent estate in the event that a company is liquidated. It is also intended to strengthen provisions relating to cession, transfer and encumbrance of rights in order to permit the partitioning of rights, and it would regulate the exploitation of associated minerals.

The bill is intended to streamline the administrative processes in relation to the regulation of the mining environment management function.

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