ANC paper rejects nationalisation
THE ANC is looking to make coal a strategic resource, bolster the capacity of a state mining firm and hold off on imposing export taxes on minerals, a top party economic official said
The ANC, which has ruled since apartheid ended in 1994, is debating ways to have the mining sector in resource-rich Souith Africa pay a greater share to alleviate poverty, income disparity and chronic unemployment.
The debate is currently being held at the party's policy conference at Gallagher Estate in Midrand, Johannesburg.
Enoch Godongwana, the ANC official charged with shepherding policies on transforming the mining sector, told Reuters that delegates were keen to protect plentiful coal reserves, used to produce almost all of the country's power.
"It is not likely to have a major impact on the market. The truth of the matter is that we have enough coal in this country to continue to export.
"The question is how much will be available for the domestic market and at what price?" Godongwana asked. He also said the debate on mining has been "rational and responsible".
The comments indicate the ANC may be putting to rest calls that have alarmed investors from leftist elements in the party for blanket nationalisation of the sector - a move dismissed by President Jacob Zuma and seen by economists as having the potential to bankrupt the state.
Godongwana, who presented a policy paper on the mining sector to ANC delegates on Tuesday, said the party's record of conservative approaches to Africa's largest economy meant radical plans are unlikely to be adopted.
"We have been running this country for 18 years. Our macro-economic management speaks for itself," Godongwana said.
First unveiled in February, the paper presented on Tuesday rejected calls for nationalisation in favour of higher taxes.
Godongwana also assured foreign mining houses the ANC did not intend to introduce export taxes on minerals.
"People have misread the document. We are not saying that we will impose an export tax. If you look at the wording, it says 'if other instruments don't work'."
He said that despite a poor record with many state-owned firms, the party wanted to expand the role of a state mining firm and give it preferential treatment.
Deliberations on mining policy will last through the week and it may take months for a final paper on the debate to be produced.
The ANC policy meeting ends tomorrow, with all-party deliberations held behind closed doors.
Recommendations will be voted upon at the party's elective conference in Mangaung in December. - Reuters