Ministers 'jumped gun' on nationalisation
Johannesburg - Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel and Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu "jumped the gun" by commenting on the nationalisation of South Africa's mines, the SA Students' Congress (Sasco) said on Wednesday.
"Ministers Shabangu and Trevor Manuel must be reminded once more that they are not the final arbiter on the discussion on nationalisation of the mines," it said in a statement.
"These ministers have consistently arrogated themselves as security guards at the gates of white monopoly capital and neo-liberalism."
It said the ministers were wrong to comment on an issue about which the African National Congress had not yet taken a decision.
"We found it offensive that whereas ANC structures and [the] mass democratic movement in general are yet to engage... on nationalisation, Shabangu and Manuel have already jumped the gun to propagate for the so-called 'resource nationalism'," it said.
At the mining indaba in Cape Town on Tuesday, Shabangu said the ANC would not nationalise mines as it was not viable for the country.
"I welcome the fact that the report of the ANC's task team on nationalisation has reinforced the [ANC's] earlier decisions that nationalisation is not a viable policy for South Africa," she said.
At the indaba last year, Shabangu said nationalisation would occur only "over her dead body".
On Monday, Manuel expressed his agreement with Shabangu.
"The minister was pretty forthright in saying that there will be nationalisation over her dead body. Now you couldn't ask for a clearer statement than that," he said.
"The mining sector is so fundamentally important as a platform to construct the [upliftment] transition that we can't be able to take this idea of nationalisation forward."
On Monday, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe called on investors not to issue threats and resort to blackmail when they took part in the nationalisation debate.
He confirmed that a draft policy document proposed the party's stance on nationalisation.
"This is a research report, not a sub-committee report. People want a pronouncement on it, but we are still currently studying it," Mantashe said.
"The public must be patient on the matter. We need the participation of everyone to comment on it... we need to consider a wide-range of society."
The document reportedly found that government needed to raise R1 trillion to buy out listed mining companies.
The mining indaba attracted about 7 000 delegates from more than 100 countries.
According to its website, the purpose of the expo was to build and maintain business relationships to sustain investment interests in African mining.
It concludes on Thursday.