JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Over the past few years government has met with only a few mining companies, African National Congress (ANC) secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Wednesday, singling out Anglo American and Xstrata as the two that interacted most consistently with government.
“Other mining companies hardly interact with the ANC and, therefore, when any of these companies express a view about the leadership of the country it is actually based on perceptions instead of practical engagement,” he said.
He also said that government wants mining companies to talk to them, and engage them to resolve concerns.
Mantashe noted that negative comments about the government impacted on potential investment into the country.
He referred to a recent comment by Nedbank chairperson Reuel Khoza in the company’s annual report, in which he said that: “South Africa is widely recognised for its liberal and enlightened Constitution, yet we observe the emergence of a strange breed of leaders who are determined to undermine the rule of law and override the Constitution.”
Government objected to this statement, after which many business leaders said that it was a suppression of their views and their right to participate in public debate, Mantashe said.
“We saw this response as creating the expectation that the ruling party must be submissive and passive. This view proposes that all institutions, everyone in society, are allowed to exercise their constitutional right, except those who are identified with the ANC,” he added.
He explained that government’s main concern with Khoza’a statement was the effect it had on its primary audience – investors.
Mantashe noted that the South African mining industry had fallen behind Australia and Canada, which he attributed to government and industry not communicating effectively.
“Political and business leadership have the responsibility to engage, with the intention of making South Africa a winning nation,” he said.