South Africa Goes Back to Mining Reform

Feb 12, 2015 | 00:14 GMT

South Africa Seeks Mining Reform
South African women fill their wheel barrows with coal at a mine in Emalahleni.



After months of speculation, South African President Jacob Zuma will announce Feb. 12 which minerals the government will initially classify as strategic under the new Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill. Once the bill is passed, Pretoria will be able to take greater control over the mining sectors named by Zuma in his announcement. However, passage was delayed Jan. 16, when Zuma vetoed the existing version over concerns about its constitutionality. The country's minister of mines shared Zuma's concerns that the bill as written could have faced legal challenges later.

Although the resources bill remains in limbo while the parliament goes back to the drawing board, Zuma and the African National Congress (ANC) are facing considerable pressure to improve South Africa's social economy. To achieve this, the ANC wants to increase government control over the mining industry to ensure that the country benefits from extracting minerals, particularly coal and platinum, and does not miss out on revenue from exported resources. Most labor unions support the initiative, making it a valuable political asset for the ANC at a time when constituents are embracing other parties. If the reform fails, the party will see an erosion of its hegemony on South Africa's political power.

Pretoria seeks to empower workers without alienating natural resource companies....

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