PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
Ntokozo Khumalo
 
Comments: 2
Article views: 693
 
 
Latest Badges:

 
View all Ntokozo Khumalo's badges.
 

Is South Africa facing a resource curse?

04 February 2013, 10:00

According to Wikipedia, which is one of the most used research sites in the world, a resource curse or ‘Paradox of Plenty’  is defined as the paradox that countries and regions with an abundance of natural resources, specifically non-renewable resources like minerals and fuels tend to have less economic growth and worse development outcomes than countries with fewer resources. I for one am starting to believe that South Africa, just like any other resource rich African country, is facing a resource curse.

The past year has been one of contention, suspicion and game exit by large mining companies. The ‘Marikana Massacre’ as dubbed by media, woke many South African’s up to the issues within the mining industry. None of us however were shocked by the measly pay earned by miners, terrible living conditions or calls for nationalization from opportunistic politicians.  But we were all troubled by just how far things have gone, with police attacking miners and miners doing the same.

I have watched many a documentaries and movies based on resource curses in other countries like Sierra Leone, and had always had a sense of pride that South Africa is not that position. But now, with the latest developments and all the other issues within mining that are slowly creeping out, what must happen now?

South Africa has been a world leader in mining even before Apartheid. We are world famous for our mineral resources that account for a significant proportion of world production and reserves. South African mining companies (or foreign companies operating in SA mining communities) are key players in the global industry.

Our country’s total reserves remain the world’s most valuable, with an estimated worth of R20.3 trillion. Overall, we are estimated to having the world’s fifth largest mining sector in terms of GDP value. But to this day, this has not translated to better living conditions for the man on the street in these mining communities.

I happened to live in a mining community for 6 months last year, this is where I learned and saw for myself just how things really work in a mining community. The mine becomes the big corporate one would find in Johannesburg. Everyone wants to work there, but very few actually get in. If someone from within the community hears that you have any kind of link to the mine, they will be asking you to hook them up with a job every other day, desperately so.

 A practical example, when I moved to this mining community, I inherited the cutest little puppy who had been left behind by her owners, I tried my best to care for her but after more than 2 weeks of not being at home, and not knowing anyone else to help care for her I decided it was best to put her up for adoption with the SPCA. A rep from SPCA came to pick her up a day later, and once he found out I was trying to get some freelance media work at the mine, he asked me to hook him up “even if its underground or an entry level job” He said. Now I am trying to imagine why someone who clearly has a passion for animals would want a job in a mine.

It turns out working for the mine gets you respect from everyone, even if working for the mine means a monthly salary of less than R4 000. This is better than what 90% of household’s bring home.  The balance beam is so unbelievably tilted, and it is exactly the same in all mining communities across the country. And this is where the ticking time bomb lies.

When I lived in this particular mining town, there was no operational public or private hospital, there was one under construction, which had been ‘under construction’ for a year before I got there I was told. I was warned to keep my man in check because of the sky rocketing HIV/AIDS rate, something crazy like 1 in 3 one in every 3 people were infected. And service in government institutions like the municipality was appalling, but the guys running it were mostly driving the latest BMW or Mercedes Benz.  There was also no reliable electricity for households. It became an unwritten tradition for everyone to go out for a braai or game drive when lights went out, and they could be out till the next day, 3 times a week.

A couple of months ago when Julius Malema was someone people still cared to even take note of, he was in the forefront of pushing for nationalization. A part of me agreed with some of his points, I cried out for the communities just like he seemed to be too. But once I lived in a mining community I realized his call was for selfish reasons. I discovered that communities in Limpopo that apparently loved him actually loathed him. He had burnt them on so many levels, taking road and community development contracts away from known and respected companies for himself, and then doing a shoddy job if a job at all.

I do not know what needs to happen to change the situation of our mining industry. The Mining Indaba which starts Monday is supposed to be the vehicle that addresses all these issues, opens up debates with the communities and find real avenue’s for all kinds of transformation. Mining communities have some great business men (all races, but more especially white since they seem to be getting overlooked) who want to and have the means to do great things in these communities, but are stifled by multinationals, individuals within multinationals and government agents.

Projects that are being undertaken are being overshadowed by the troubles of the industry.

What are your thoughts? What should the Mining Indaba be doing to tackle these issues or is it every South African’s responsibility to make a difference? 

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Ryan Blom
Bedford Centre Robbery

I would imagine Bedford Centre brings in tens of millions each month - why can they not afford proper security and measures to ensure the safety of their clients? Read more...

6 comments 565 views
Submitted by
CraigJoseph
Shouldering the blame...

It is with great disgust that we have learnt about the actual financial cost of corruption over the last 20 years. Read more...

3 comments 120 views
Submitted by
woadstress
Looking deeper

The next time you are having a bad day, when things are not going as you planned, take a moment to look around you, look at random people from all walks of life and social status and fantasise.  Read more...

0 comments 16 views
Submitted by
The Scribe
Dear Eskom

While we understand that there are problems with the supply of electricity, we, your PAYING PUBLIC, are really getting sick and tired of the on again off again state of our electricity supply. Read more...

13 comments 165 views
Submitted by
Craig Pedersen
What's a few billion between frie...

In the time it takes you to read this - around 10 RDP houses could have been built with the amount of money that the government has lost to corruption. Read more...

40 comments 2630 views
Submitted by
MarkH
Stupid South Africans

I am constantly surprised by many things in SA - even though I no longer should be - and the garbage spouted by ANC/Government MP’s and their spokesmen figures prominently here. Read more...

12 comments 2261 views

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Month End Madness Sale!

Save up to 60% on across a wide range of goods from books to electronics, DVDs and many more. Sale end 31 January 2015. Shop now!

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2015 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.