ANC mine grab claims

2010-11-21 16:49
Johannesburg - The ANC’s controversial investment and fundraising front, Chancellor House, has secured a lucrative stake in the scramble for South Africa’s mineral wealth – a move critics slate as a shocking conflict of interest.

City Press has established that over the past six years, Chancellor House Mineral Resources – a subsidiary of Chancellor House Holdings – has ­netted rights to carry out prospecting at 560 sites in Northern Cape, North West and Mpumalanga.

Applications to prospect at a further 400 sites are still under consideration by the department of mineral resources (DMR).

Investigations also reveal that key members of the party’s national ­executive committee (NEC), including ­treasurer-general Mathews Phosa, ­deputy ministers Ebrahim Ebrahim and Ayanda Dlodlo, National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu, former spy boss Billy Masetlha, businessman ­Cyril ­Ramaphosa and ambassador to Italy, Thenjiwe Mtintso, all have direct interests in mining companies.

Details of the prospecting interests are included in a 1.5-million-entry DMR database of mineral rights and now show for the first time the location and scale of the ruling party’s prospecting interests.

The revelations come as a furious ­debate rages over the potential nationalisation of mines and in the week that the ANC announced it would appoint two senior researchers and a project manager “to investigate successful models that could be considered on the role of the state in mining”.

Chancellor House Holdings chief executive Mamatho Netsianda last week refused to discuss the company’s mining interests and prospecting rights. “I’m not interested in discussing it with you,” said Netsianda, a ­former deputy secretary of defence.


Peter Leon, a mining-law expert and chairperson of the International Bar Association’s mining-law committee, said it was “very problematic that the ­state has awarded prospecting rights to the investment arm of the ANC”.

Leon said: “The state should not ­provide Chancellor House or the ruling party with business opportunities. It is unethical, it is a conflict of interest and is nothing else but favouritism.

“There should be a clear separation between state and business and, in this instance, it is getting blurred.”

According to Leon, the allocation of prospecting rights to Chancellor ­House ­created an “unlevel playing field” and Chancellor House “has a ­clear advantage over other companies trying to get these rights”.

ANC spokesperson Brian Sokutu said: “Chancellor House is a duly ­incorporated business which has been formed in compliance with the ­Companies Act and has every right to trade like any other company.

“There is nothing legally stopping Chancellor House from having an investment in any business,” he said. Sokutu added that there was nothing wrong with senior NEC members having interests in mining.

He said: “Where there could be a ­problem is if somebody holds a senior public ­service position or that of a ­minister or deputy minister.


“There is no conflict at all. We have rules and regulations in this country and ethics to follow. We don’t think ­people need to fear anything.”

Dr Koos Pretorius, a mining expert and director of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment, is investigating the allocation of prospecting rights to Chancellor House.

“It seems as though, once again, the DMR has just bulldozed the whole ­process and granted prospecting rights without properly consulting ­land owners, and interested and ­affected parties,” Pretorius said.

The 2002 Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act states that affected parties should be notified of the intention to prospect and should be consulted about the process.

Pretorius said it was problematic that “Chancellor House – and therefore in effect the ruling party – has been ­granted prospecting rights”.

“This should never have happened. It is a free-for-all with everybody trying to get prospecting rights, whether they know how to mine or not,” he said.

Connected people

Frans Baleni, general secretary of the influential National Union of Mineworkers, said that while he was not opposed to the ruling party or members of its executive having interests in mining, he was concerned that “you could get connected people who might not add value to the industry and who are there to make money and compromise basic things like human rights and ­labour law”.

Baleni asked: “The issue is fair play; did they get it like any other person?”

ANC Youth League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu was dismissive when asked about the potential conflict of ­interest, saying he found the questions “stupid”. He did not see how Chancellor House’s interests and those of senior NEC members would affect debate in the party over mine nationalisation.

The Democratic Alliance’s ­shadow minister for mining, advocate Hendrik Schmidt, said the ANC “should not be linked to any possible benefits from transformation issues”.

He said: “They benefited from the electricity crisis in view of their ­involvement and ownership in ­Chancellor House and Hitachi SA.

“What the ANC has done is ride on the back of transformation, indirectly to the detriment of the people they are supposed to be serving.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    da  |  num  |  anc  |  ancyl  |  mathews phosa  |  billy masetlha  |  brian sokutu  |  max sisulu  |  ebrahim ebrahim  |  ayanda dlodlo  |  mining  |  politics
NEXT ON NEWS24X 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Argentina overpower spirited Tonga
LIVE: Ireland v Italy
As it happened: Tonga 16-45 Argentina
Betham: Future is out of my hands
Traffic Alerts

Spontaneity is the order of the day. Let go and have some fun. Try not to set too many set plans and expectations and enjoy more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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 network.


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.