No harm in nationalisation debate: minister

2010-02-02 10:30

There was no harm in letting Julius Malema flex his intellectual

muscles by talking about nationalisation, Mineral Resources Minister Susan

Shabangu said today.

However she insisted his pronouncements did not shape government

policy.

“In my lifetime there’ll be no nationalisation,” she told a media

conference at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town.

“Maybe when I’m dead, and rest assured I’m not dying next

week.”

Though nationalisation was not government policy, South Africa was

a democratic country, and young people who wanted to “flex their muscles

intellectually” should not be suppressed.

“Why should we stop young people when they want to engage in an

intellectual debate?

“If Malema flexes his muscle as a young person, and engages in

intellectual and academic exercise, why must we stop him?“

Malema, who is the leader of the African National Congress Youth

League, has repeatedly called for nationalisation of the country’s mines,

starting with its gold and platinum mines.

In October last year he gave ANC leaders an ultimatum to either

support nationalisation or forget about leading the ANC in 2012.

Shabangu told the media conference that the notion of state

participation in the mining sector was nothing new.

It already owned diamond mining concern Alexkor, and had a stake in

Anglo American.

“So we are already there. We exist, we compete, we are part of the

markets,” she said.

However such involvement had to be strategic and in the national

interest.

“If the state must be involved it will have to compete, it will

have to make sure it becomes efficient, it has to compete like any other

business,” she said.

“You can’t say nationalisation is strategic, because

nationalisation is about everything, and that’s not the route we’re

taking.”

Earlier, in a speech to delegates at the Indaba, Shabangu said her

department was working to reduce the turnaround time for mining rights

applications from the current year to six months.

Prospecting rights applications would be reduced from six to three

months.


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