Nationalisation not policy: Anglo

2011-06-23 14:32

Anglo American believes nationalisation is not government policy, the company’s executive director in SA, Godfrey Gomwe, said today.

“We believe that the South African government believes in free enterprise. We believe nationalisation is not the policy of the government of South Africa,” Gomwe told reporters in Johannesburg.

“We believe they will make the right decisions around the debate that’s currently raging.”

Gomwe said Anglo did not think nationalisation was the “road to go”, and cited Zambia’s failed policies.

Anglo would “engage with government” in the debate, he said.

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, in his political report to the league’s congress last week, said the country’s wealth had to be transferred to the people. The banks and mines should be nationalised and land redistribution accelerated.

Afterwards, however, the ANC said the government’s policy on nationalisation had not changed. Spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said pronouncements by the league on matters such as nationalisation and land redistribution formed part of ongoing discussions within the ANC.

In March, Malema said his organisation wanted 60% of Anglo American.

“What Anglo does with the other 40% is their business,” he was quoted as saying in a City Press article.

The league then issued a statement re-assuring Anglo American it would not be the only mining company from which shares would be taken if nationalisation was implemented. It also clarified the stake would be taken by the government, not the youth league.

Gomwe said the Freedom Charter did not call for nationalisation, but spoke only of resources belonging to all South Africans.

He was speaking at an Anglo American local procurement and enterprise development fair, to showcase the company’s work on local procurement.

The diversified mining company’s small and medium enterprise development initiative Zimele provides funding and support to entrepreneurs within a 50km radius of its mines.

“To date, Zimele has invested some R467 million in 845 local businesses which together employ almost 16 000 people and generate an annual turnover of R1.8 billion,” said Anglo American chief executive Cynthia Carroll.

On nationalisation, she said passion and enthusiasm of local entrepreneurs was “what is going to lead to a prosperous and successful South Africa” and create much-needed jobs.

She said for each of the almost 16 000 jobs created, 10 people were supported. This mean 150 000 lives were affected by the initiative.

The enterprises were not only mining-related, as Zimele also provided loans to coffee shops and cleaning services, among others.

Ninety percent of the enterprises paid back their loans,, at an interest rate of six percent per annum, to Zimele within the required three years.

The company spent 40% on local procurement at a cost of R21 billion a year, said supply chain head Andrew Hinky.

He said the company’s goal was to meet the local procurement targets set out in the Mining Charter 12 months before the 2014 deadline.

Under the charter, mining companies would have to buy 40% of their capital goods, 70% of their services and 50% of their consumer goods from black economic empowered entities.

The company planned to create and sustain an additional 15 000 jobs in around 1 500 new businesses by 2015, in response to a commitment it made to the UN Business Call to Action as part of the Millennium Goal initiative, Carroll said.

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