Anglo American ‘can’t do the work of government’

2014-05-23 12:43

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Anglo American cannot attempt to do the work of government, Vincent Maphai from the government’s National Planning Commission has said.

Maphai said today it was not the responsibility of the mining giant to improve the education system of the country.

“Having the private sector too close to government can cause immobility,” said Maphai.

He was speaking at the SA Mining and Education Stakeholder Conference held at the Wits School of Governance.

A research team from Wits and the SA Institute of International Affairs were to present findings of a study on the effects that mines have on surrounding schools and communities.

Maphai said it revealed that Anglo American had made little impact on education between 2009 and 2012.

He acknowledged that he was disappointed but not surprised.

“Is it the primary responsibility of Anglo to deliver major returns at a system level?” Maphai asked.

“If the answer is yes, we make government redundant.

“It isn’t the role of Anglo,” he said.

Maphai said the problems that existed within the education system were political and not about resources.

“Anglo can’t untangle political problems,” he said.

Maphai said the commitment of teachers affected the quality of education.

Basic education required teachers who would say it did not matter what the system said but insisted on upholding teaching principles and values.

Maphai highlighted that education was one of the portfolios that received the biggest budget allocation but was the worst performing.

Emphasising the need to have quality teachers, Maphai said: “Good teachers can make a bad minister look good,” but the same results would not be achieved if this were to be reversed.

“We don’t need more resources but we need more resourcefulness,” Maphai said.

He said if private companies wanted to be resourceful, they could partner with other private companies and see how they could work together and bring about change.

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