Expert slammed

2011-02-26 11:59

The nationalisation debate took a step forward this week as the ANC announced the names of the researchers who would help the ruling party determine which path to follow towards greater state ­involvement in the economy.

On Friday Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan reiterated that nationalisation was not state ­policy. He said everyone was allowed to have their view and to debate the issue even if this ­created ­uncertainty.

The government was “very transparent”, so if the policy was to change, it “will become part of the public discourse” and business could enter in the debate.

“The institutions of democracy we have created will allow your voices to be heard,” he said.

His comments came after the ANC Youth League objected to the appointment of Paul Jourdan as one of the researchers.

“We call on the ANC to ­reconsider his inclusion in the ­research team because he is ­prejudiced and his contribution will forever be questionable ­because his views contradict the Freedom Charter,” said league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu.

Over the past year, the league has been pushing for the ­nationalisation of mines.

Others in the team are ­University of the Witwatersrand researcher Pundy Pillay and Margaret Chitiga-Mabugu of the Human Sciences Research Council.

The ANC’s highest decision-making body, the national ­executive committee, was ­conducting the probe and would report its findings to the party’s policy conference in 2012. A final decision on nationalisation would be taken at the ANC’s national conference in the same year.

Jourdan this week declined to comment and referred all the questions to the ANC.

“I will only talk on this issue once the research has been ­completed,” said Jourdan.

In his past presentations, Jourdan argued that junior miners were from Europe and that the country needed to ­promote the growth of indigenous exploration companies.

He recommended that there should be prospecting regulations ensuring that licence holders ­undertake genuine exploration, with minimum work and ­expenditure per hectare ­requirements.

“The transferability of these rights should be dependent on government approval and a capital gains tax of 50% should be imposed on on holders who ‘flip’ their exploration rights before ­establishing a mining operation,” he wrote.

He said a “use it or lose it” clause should be imposed on all mining contracts that included clear investment milestones.

“If the concessionaires failed to achieve the milestones, the ­licence could be cancelled and the deposit competitively auctioned against developmental criteria,” he wrote in another presentation.

His view was that the Southern African Customs Union should be expanded to increase the local market size for resources-linked industries and activities.

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