No end in sight to the mines ownership debate

THERE seems to be no end in sight to the raging debate over whether or not President Jacob Zuma should nationalise the country's mines.

THERE seems to be no end in sight to the raging debate over whether or not President Jacob Zuma should nationalise the country's mines.

ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe says the ANC is not opposed to debating nationalisation but wants those calling for such a debate to provide "concrete ideas" on how the debate could be taken forward.

"We have invited comrades who want us to treat this debate as a ritual to come up with concrete ideas as to what more can be done to build on the progress made.

"That challenge stands and we are not going to go to the Pope and just pledge a hollow support for the nationalisation of the mines," Mantashe told South African Municipal Workers Union members in Bela Bela, Limpopo, yesterday.

Mantashe also maintained that the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act had already "reverted the ownership of mineral deposits to the state", and therefore fulfilled the requirement of the Freedom Charter which called for the mineral wealth beneath the soil to be transferred to the people.

He said the current laws compelled companies in the mining sector to pay levies to the state, adding that the ANC found it strange that the debate was not being extended to the banking sector and monopoly industries.

Earlier this week, Mantashe said the ANC had no policy of nationalising the mines. He went on to say that nationalisation was not mentioned anywhere in the Freedom Charter.

Both Numsa and the ANC Youth League then accused Mantashe of deliberately misinterpreting the Freedom Charter.

ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said the league was aware of progress made since 1994 but it was not convinced that ordinary citizens were benefiting from the country's wealth.

"We do not believe that the act as it currently stands will ensure that the people share in the country's wealth," he said.

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