King Zuma's mines

2011-02-20 19:04

Johannesburg - The state’s new mining company – heralded by some as a triumph for those pushing for nationalising South Africa’s mines – is bidding for no fewer than 128 ­prospecting and mining rights, and the scale of its intended operations has ­taken the ­mining industry by ­surprise.

It has already been awarded 10 ­prospecting rights, with another 16 in the final stages of approval and the balance at various stages of ­being processed.

This was ­established by City Press from ­published records of the department of mineral resources.

The data sheds new light on the scale of operations of the state’s newly revived mining company – the African Exploration Mining and Finance Corporation ­(AEMFC) – which ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema has hailed as proof that the league’s push for ­nationalisation has worked.

This has been ­denied by ­President Jacob Zuma.

During his State of the Nation address Zuma spoke of the imminent ­official launch of ­AEMFC, which until now had been housed in the ­Central ­Energy Fund.

Unfair advantage

It was given the green light by Cabinet in December to be a ­stand-alone ­company. Industry and legal experts were shocked when told of the scale of the corporation’s interests.

There has been concern over the waiver of many application ­conditions which ­AEMFC ­received in 2009 from former ­minerals and energy minister Buyelwa Sonjica, and which many said gave it an unfair advantage in the industry, but the scope of ­AEMFC interests and potential interests had not emerged until now.

“It’s huge,” said Dr Koos Pretorius, a leading mining commentator and director of the Federation for a Sustainable ­Environment.

The number of applications by AEMFC in Mpumalanga alone was equal to the total number of rights for ­Anglo American, he said.

Peter Leon, a leading mining-law ­expert from Webber Wentzel Attorneys, said Sonjica had acted beyond her legal power in waiving for the corporation the obligations required by an applicant for prospecting or ­mining rights.

Commercial farmers

Leon said AEMFC intended to mine large parts of eastern Free State, currently used for commercial farming, but that if commercial farmers there launched a ­legal challenge the corporation’s ­application exemptions would likely be ­overthrown in court.

Pretorius said it was incredible that an environmental impact plan could be drafted without ­consulting interested parties as there was no other way to ­establish the amount of water that would be used, where it would come from and the long-term effects on the land.

Late last year the corporation was due to open its first mine – a coal operation called Vlakfontein which previously belonged to ­Anglo American – near Ogies in Mpumalanga.

The opening was ­cancelled, however, after ­concerned ­environmentalists established that the mine did not have a valid water licence, ­Pretorius said.

Meanwhile, Leon said South ­Africa needed an independent body to govern the issuing of ­mineral rights. According to him, government could not be judge, player and ­supervisor.

Conflict of interest

Willem le Roux, a lawyer at Brink Cohen Le Roux, said AEMFC had ­created an ­extremely unhealthy situation where there was a clear conflict of interest.

Frans Barker, the senior ­executive ­director of the Chamber of Mines, said: “We are not ­necessarily opposed to a state ­mining company, but the playing field must be equal.”

He added that the ministerial ­exemption granted to the ­corporation was of deep concern to the chamber.The chamber had already ­undertaken a significant amount of research into the role of the state in mining and would make this body of research available.

This week the corporation’s CEO, Sizwe Madondo, did not ­respond to ­repeated attempts by City Press for an ­interview and/or comment.

The mineral resources ­department also did not respond to requests for ­comment on AEMFC’s applications, the type of minerals it was applying for and confirmation of the number of ­active and awarded prospecting and mining applications.

Private mining companies – ­including Anglo American – also declined to ­comment.

  • lldoidge - 2011-02-20 19:11

    Headline should read "King Zuma and his cronies"!

      daspoort - 2011-02-20 19:30

      "King Zuma and his cronies become to become billionaires within few years"

  • wattalotokak - 2011-02-20 19:24

    I am stumped and I simply do not know what to comment other than this is BLATANT CONFLICT OF INTERESTS!!!!! I would not be suprised if Anglo will pull out of SA!

      SimonP - 2011-02-20 20:13

      Ask any 10 year old if there is a conflict of interest and they will say yes. The only ones that cant see it are the ANC supporters who are the ones being ripped off the most by the elite cadres. You get what you vote for.

      Grazy - 2011-02-20 20:33

      Anglo is already next to out of SA. They just pick the last few rands they can, but that is about it.

  • foulshamnairn - 2011-02-20 19:32

    Anglo has effectively already pulled out of SA

  • Dave - 2011-02-20 19:35

    I have known about the company for a while, and was greatly concerned that there was no comment after the budget speech...The ANC is busy gobbling up all mining rights in this country, soon independent companies wont be able to mine when theur exiting mines are depleted, wholesale nationalistion, and no one is saying a thing?

  • BrokenRecord - 2011-02-20 19:38

    How on earth can anyone be surprised by this? In SA there is only one style of government and that is "Government by deception". If you have not yet learned this then wake up. This time the writing is on the wall.

  • mengelbrecht1 - 2011-02-20 19:39

    These mines will be ISM very quickly indeed!

      bruce2506 - 2011-02-20 20:07

      Yeah they will be ISM very quick,BUT unfortunately the animals would have got away with the "bones" by then.

  • - 2011-02-20 19:39

    Mark my words... If any mine gets owned or nationalised, nobody BUT the top ANC Elite will benefit. Yes why not! Lets vote these cronies back in power. They haven't stolen enough from us all... Yea... Take some more of our hard earned money so you can buy new cars, houses and party while South Africa burns... BAH! I am disgusted by the mentality of the majority of South Africans

  • Pilgrim - 2011-02-20 19:39

    So, now the ANC government is going to grab and destroy good land and produce more acid water, all in the name of mining. Good employment possibilities though: * Managers, miners (and striking unions) * People to rehabilitate the land (forgot about the skill shortage, so these will be Cubans or Chinese) * New manned plants and labs to treat all the acid water (oops… more Cubans and Chinese)

      Grazy - 2011-02-20 20:38

      Pilgrim, you got it bullseye there, but forget the Cubans, the Chinese want it for themselfs alone. Oh dear, Africa will learn what "colonisation" means and they will have to return to "their roots" of mud huts, assegais and sangomas. China will not put up with strikes and lazyness.

      Zanu - 2011-02-21 07:37

      Grazy, If China will not put up with strikes and laziness... I prefer them rather than our Union ridden and lazy ANC regime. And to everyone else here... this has nothing to do with race... just corrupt leaders that must be stopped or else we will lose our beloved country to bankruptcy

  • Hugh - 2011-02-20 19:49

    Using our tax money the ANC can do anything. When are we to get value for the tax rand spent. Zuma you Ahole get the country up to speed first before playing king. Spend the money on infrustructure before mines. First show us the you can run Eskom andand the country.

  • schjus008 - 2011-02-20 19:52

    I think some order is needed!

  • Brendan - 2011-02-20 19:56

    Well the majority of people in South Africa have voted to put the ANC in charge so they must now accept everything this current government does! Malema lives in Sandton and people at large still believe he's championing the cause of the poor, disadvantaged and afflicted. Couldn't be further from the truth - I've been in many a squatter camp and the people still live like how they did during apartheid. Whats worse is that a large proportion of the younger generation living in locations are not going to be able to change the situation any time soon. They're still lacking higher levels of education and skills to be able to change things and all this 16 years on from democracy..SAD!! SOCIALISTS?? No!! Greed driven fraudsters dooping an entire nation! They're worse than the capitalists!

      DW - 2011-02-20 22:44

      But they take one look at Zuma and Malema and can see that someone with no decent education but the right connections or amount of corruption can get very very rich. Why would they not vote for someone like that? They dream that one day they will achieve the same. Vote for another party and you will have to work for it!

  • Badger - 2011-02-20 20:02

    Look at the rest of Africa and see the furure. Eventually this will spiral so out of control that we will become yet another Africa country where there is a civil war. Whatch this space. We are going to become dependent on the UN to provide basic food in the no so distence future.

  • bruce2506 - 2011-02-20 20:05

    Why are we suprised, what better way to stay in POWER than to own most of the wealth and use it to your advantage.

  • naude.andrea - 2011-02-20 20:12

    Will everybody that is upset PLEASE vote in the Municipal elections and start making a democratic stand??? BECOME INVOLVED.

      gavin.john.oleary - 2011-02-21 09:07

      Andrea, people vote with their feet. My wife swore she would never leave South Africa but with so many things going on in this country she has suggested we need to take our children to my homeland (I am not a South African). I always said if the private sector could hold the economy together long enough for the new generations to come through and take over from the "struggle" generations then SA stands a chance of a good future, but with nepotism and communism becoming the two pillars of the ANC (note: both lead to elitism and poor subdued masses) the slide seems now to have gathered too much momentum. The only difference between South Africa and other countries that have dictators is that South Africa's dictator is not an individual but a party. And as another contributor mentioned, the Chinese communist influence is obvious. Remember, the ANC have sent people to China for "education" before.

  • Trevor - 2011-02-20 20:19

    So what, China is doing the same to the USA and Africa...they buying everything, it's called economic need to bomb a country anymore, just buy it....where the hell do you think the ANC learned this from??? The Chinese are financially supporting the ANC in a HUGE way, nothing new and ZUMA and the ANC are selling South Africa's resources off to fund their private needs....this is so obvious it's laugable.....and all the black supporters of the ANC, you REALLY think the ANC is in it for YOUR interests, they just scream race to divert your attention and you submit like lambs....they use Julius M to divert attention away from the real issues, why do you think Julius has NEVER been reined in hey?????You think this mining thing is new, been coming for YEARS!!!! Oh if only the black majority of this country could wipe the crap out of their eyes and see, you being taken for fools....but no, you so wound up on race issues it blinds you...just stand back and ask the question, WHY, why is it always the same names coming up and ALWAYS about land......SA if being milked DRY, we being sold off all in the name of "FREEDOM".....we just being sold off to become slaves to the Asian Power House....economic fact but, just one (ANC) person has to say "ag you a racist and anti change...bla bla bla..." and all the attention is drawn away from what is really going on in SA....pity, cause we could amount to so much more.........all of us and we have no need for the Zuma's of this world.

      joubert.joep - 2011-02-20 20:46

      You are extremely accurate and spot-on and this was what I wanted to say but due to a lack of English (and being furious) I just wrote a sibgle "small" comment...

      golanc2 - 2011-02-20 22:04

      is china going to end like our freinds in north africa???

  • joubert.joep - 2011-02-20 20:20

    You are causing a lot of investor withdrawals...

  • Macho Mike - 2011-02-20 20:23

    ­AEMFC - Africa's Exploited Mining Fat Cats. ANC - African's National Circus ANC = AEMFC African's National Circus = Africa's Exploited Mining Fat Cats

      Colin Dovey - 2011-02-27 08:43

      I love your "alphabetic maths" Macho Mike.....those acronyms work :-)

  • Juggernaut - 2011-02-20 20:26

    Good bye SA

  • briansmith702 - 2011-02-20 20:27

    Just typical of these corrupt ANC bastards.

  • SiphovdMerwe - 2011-02-20 20:54

    I am joining the ANC. There is money to be made. Come one come all. Break it from the inside.

  • jaimey - 2011-02-20 21:04

    Thank heavens I'M SO OLD I'll be ashes when SA falls into the African long-drop

      Colin - 2011-02-27 15:26

      Jaimey -I am also one of the fortunate ones like yourself, I give these governing thugs about 10 years then RSA will disappear and assume a name in Chinese, in other words written with pictures. Unfortunately my children and grand children will either leave the country or suffer the consequences. However there could be a vast improvement as the chinese will not tolerate the ANC's thieving ways.

  • Des - 2011-02-20 21:18

    This is typical Africa(n). Look at the DRC where the government used to own 51% of all and any mining activities, however some time ago they pushed this quite a lot higher. Absolutely no sense applied accept for the principle of grabbing money as fast as they can. Welcome to Africa mentality - let's enrich ourselves today and stuff tomorrow!!!!

  • Nam - 2011-02-20 21:49

    And the Zuma-government repeatedly declared that nationalization is not official policy.... at this stage it's only investigated. SA is slowly but surely moving toward autocracy and thus only the way like most African countries.....a few rich fat cats and the majority poor and unenducated.

  • nyashabam - 2011-02-20 21:52

    LOL... hilarious.... i give SA 10 years before it goes through it's own Zim style shake up... i'll say this though.. whoever advises ANC is a genius.... with all the BEE money they'll be able to finance themselves unlike in Zim...hmm ... talk about smart nationalisation... wow ... capitalism gotta love it....

  • golanc2 - 2011-02-20 22:01

    is the a.n.c going to end like his freind in the arab world.

  • Mateke - 2011-02-20 22:01

    What has already happened and what is currently happening regarding the mining and government has not been by chance. It is by design. There is a ton of darkness and subterfuge surrounding this governments dealings. The cloak of good and open governance and our constitution is already becoming threadbare. Open your eyes folk, do not be naive. The stage is set and they know exactly where they are going. The players and the plan are there before you, but sometimes difficult to see because of all the smoke and mirrors! What a convenient and timely moratorium on prospecting and mining applications.

  • golanc2 - 2011-02-20 22:05

    a.n.c be cerful the weather in the world is changing now...stop ure coruption now!!!!!!

  • MidmarMile - 2011-02-20 22:47

    The vast majority of comments here are either out of ignorance or show no thought. This is not about nationalisation of existing mines. It is about the government trying to compete against Anglos/BHP/etc. If they fail AEMFC will just be another money sucking state enterprise and won't pose any threat. If they succeed and are competitive against the established mining houses then that is the type of state enterprise I do want. Numbers (128) of prospecting/mining rights do not impress me. The viability of those rights is what counts. Mining coal for Eskom is a small margin high volume type of business. One step out of place and ..... - 2011-02-21 00:15

      ???"If they fail AEMFC will just be another money sucking state enterprise and won't pose any threat. "??? Are you evading tax??? Where do you think money to build these mines will come from... And you really think its not going to hurt us?

      AJ - 2011-02-21 05:27

      @MidmarMile - this company will be seen as a strategic national asset and therefore worth of being funded by the tax payer. The middle class is basically buying mining rights for the senior members of the ANC. End of story.

      Swaar - 2011-02-21 10:57

      And lastly, it is not competing on an even foot. With all the ministerial bypasses and short cuts, the competition can't compete. If they can't compete, they will withdraw as everything is stacked in the government owned companies favour.

      MidmarMile - 2011-02-22 06:55

      For those that say the competition can't compete... Indepent contractors (for mining & processing) would employ about about 250 people, but rumour has it that AEMFC intend employing about 3000 (yes three thousand) on this mine. It now appears that AEMFC will not be a genuine mining company, but rather a social grant facilitator.

  • JZ - 2011-02-20 23:22

    Is it 1 April already? if not, I see a big opportunity, they will make a mess of it like Eskom, SAA, Postnet, Transnet, water ect. and their incompetance will keep the private sector alive because the fat cats cant go on without all the capitalistic luxuries.

  • PAUL A. HARRIS - 2011-02-21 00:36

    the more money that is earned, the more and the sooner the cadres will turn on each eat dog.

  • BigBrother24 - 2011-02-21 01:01

    The reason WHY JZ had to be freed (at last) from corruption charges is slowly coming through. Perfect Player for the Perfect Role.

  • AJ - 2011-02-21 05:20

    Most of the electorates on our continent learn the hard way, and only after many many opportunities have come and gone. Our electorate in our nation is no different. African leaders have shown over and over that they have no need for a middle class. One needs only the tiny political elite at the top who have access to and control over all the resources of the country, and the masses can be counted on to get by on a dollar a day, an impotent mass of poor people, resigned to a lifetime of poverty and / or the bare minimum.

  • Zanu - 2011-02-21 06:08

    If the ANC is not beaten (or at least loses much support) in the upcoming election, then South Africa is in big trouble. The ANC are un-patriotic, money/fame addicted criminals who only care about themselves. Madiba, if he could, would probably of left the party if he knew how this country was run. BEE and Affirmative action have murdered SME's and small business. Red tape, immoral taxes, petrol and toll roads are hurting the private citizen. A country is like a company, with bad management even the latter will collapse. Seems like this “mining” issue will be the straw that broke the camels back. Instead of upgrading the lives of South Africans, the ANC rather is trying to downgrade the middle class to become poor. This communist ideal, that all should be equal is going to destroy us. I pray the "uneducated" learn quickly that the ANC does NOT have their best interest at hart. God help us all if change is not on its way. I have faith... but only as a religious man.

  • qtpi84 - 2011-02-21 07:21

    They are stealing from the people.. STEALING.. and everyone just sits back and does nothing about it..

  • Joy - 2011-02-21 07:39

    corruption, corruption, corruption !

  • WiseOwl2 - 2011-02-21 07:46

    Eish ....This will lead to the downfall of his already crumbling kingdom..Tunisia,Egypt ????? Finally these old cronies will be toppled.

  • bill - 2011-02-21 08:49

    the ANC can't even run Robben Island and the ferry. How on earth do these retards hope to run a state mining company?

  • Baboon - 2011-02-21 09:43

    Zuma is learning a lot from his mentor Mugabe...

  • supapaul - 2011-02-21 10:15

    Enrich yourselfs!!! While 40 million of your people suffer from poverty!! Just like Mugabe...

  • profsapphire - 2011-02-21 10:23

    ANC = sugar coated Communism

  • Mark - 2011-02-26 14:49

    just the sneeky start , watch for more soon. Once thieves always thieves . No concern for the majority of poor impoverished south africans only for there own wallets. Wonder what other ideas Zuma will come up with during a shower , oh maybe another tax payers wedding .

  • spindoctor - 2011-02-26 16:48

    Suicide mining with the aid of taxpayers money.Pray what expertise does the state have in mining and plant operation? They have proved to be failures in various state crun companies. Add to the lack of expertise ,enviromental disasters,corruption,nepotism and preferential treatment on fertile farming land owned and farmed by food providers. This is a disaster that must be stopped at all costs.We are not a Socialist country!

  • Boetman - 2011-02-26 23:50

    Jacob Zuma may be the cleverest President this copuntry has ever seen. His son owns half of Shishen Mines and he and the ANC will end up owning most of the mineral wealth of South Africa through AEMFC ~ and all this in less than 3 years in power. Think where the man will be after 2 terms in office? Viva Zuma! Viva ANC! Viva curruption! Viva!

  • Chris - 2011-02-27 06:45


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