Cape Town – There is a new mood of optimism for South Africa and its prospects, said Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies, who has returned from the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.
Davies was speaking on a panel along with Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane at the 2018 African Mining Indaba on Monday.
The improved outlook for the global economy, along with the prospect of rising mineral prices and the success of the ANC elective conference in December 2017 which resulted in new leadership, have been contributing factors to more upbeat investor confidence, he explained.
Davies said at previous years in Davos investors mainly spoke about their irritations and raised criticisms of the country. But this time round investors were looking to increase their presence in South Africa.
“It’s not a solution for all our problems, but they are better circumstances to deal with challenges facing the country,” he said.
Speaking to Fin24 on the sidelines of the briefing, Davies did not speak specifically to the developments at Luthuli House where President Jacob Zuma's fate is being decided, but he said that there is an overall mood that South Africa is getting on top of its problems. These include state capture, corruption and mismanagement of state-owned enterprises.
“There is a sense that at last we will do something about it.
”This is already happening as was seen with the appointment of a new board at Eskom and the commission of inquiry into state capture," he said.
“We really need to turn that chapter around. If we do, then the mood towards us will be more positive than it has been for a number of years.”
Zwane would not be drawn in to comment on the matter, saying that as a member of the NEC he is not allowed to discuss the issues surrounding Zuma’s future.
During his address at the indaba, Zwane said that the DMR was engaging with investors. Rio Tinto, with a potential investment of $450m, plans to expand its operations and extend the life of its mine. The Venetia Underground Project from De Beers is another investment, valued at $2bn.
Deputy Minister Godfrey Olifant was positive about the prospects of South Africa’s mining industry. “South Africa has the most beautiful geology you can think of today. We are going to be mining for the next 100 years, so your investments are safe,” he said.
Olifant said that issues are being resolved, such as the charter. “We are going forward, there is no turning back in this country.”
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