Helena Wasserman | Astounding mining profits are saving SA, helping to heal history

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Helena Wasserman.
Helena Wasserman.
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Mining super profits will allow South Africa to pay grants to the country’s unemployed - helping to bend the arc of the moral universe in the right direction, writes Helena Wasserman.

It may not feel like it, but South Africa has been extremely lucky.

A boom in commodity prices is saving us from going bust. Mining companies are paying billions more in company tax than expected, which may help pull back South Africa from its fiscal cliff. More immediately, the tax windfall will help fund some of the most recent state interventions to cushion households and businesses from the worst of the pandemic and recent civil unrest.

The sheer scale of mining profits and their contribution to the SA fiscus, as detailed in financial results released last week, are astonishing.

One company, Anglo American Platinum, made a headline profit of R46 billion in just six months. It paid R16.6 billion in taxes and royalties to the SA Revenue Service (SARS) in this time - R14 billion more than in the same periods in 2019 and 2020.

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