Shape up SOEs if you want more investment, mining bosses tell government

The Investing in Africa Mining Indaba will kick off in Cape Town on Monday. (Liesl Peyper, Fin24)
The Investing in Africa Mining Indaba will kick off in Cape Town on Monday. (Liesl Peyper, Fin24)

CEO of Vedanta Zinc International, Deshnee Naidoo, has called on government to secure reliable and equitable power as well as world class infrastructure, to allow the company to honour its commitment to environmental and social benefits for South Africa.

Naidoo was speaking at the 2019 Mining Indaba in Cape Town’s International Convention Centre on Monday morning.

Eskom is currently asking for a 15% tariff hike from the National Energy Regulator of SA. Transnet is pursing legal action over a locomotive contract it is said to have awarded irregularly, where it lost billions.

Vedanta – which owns the largest copper smelter in India – also runs operations in the Northern Cape. The company’s chair and founder Anil Agarwal has pledged to donate 75% of his family’s wealth to charity.

During her address, she detailed the commitments the company has made to world-class projects in social benefit, community empowerment and mining town rehabilitation.

She said the services of state-owned companies such as Eskom and Transnet were vital to ensuring optimum impact from Vedanta’s investment in South Africa.

"We need affordable and reliable power supply and reliable rail infrastructure in order to invest meaningfully in South Africa. Vedanta is capable of developing means on its own, but we would love to do this in partnership with South Africa," said Naidoo.

South 32 chief operating office Mike Fraser echoed Naidoo’s sentiments in his own address, saying Eskom needed a number of interventions in order to service industries in a sustainable manner.

Fraser said the skill set within Eskom needed to be secured. He advocated for the breaking up of Eskom, parallel to other interventions to improve the company’s chances of thriving.

He said there should be a reform in the company’s tariff model that would allow it to provide affordable energy and sustain itself.

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