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CONVERSATIONS WITH THE LEADERS

Minister Zwane

Writer: Chris Bathembu

ensuring transformation and sustainability in mining

T

he South African economy has been built on the

see improvements. We are doing well with gold and we are

back of mining. For more than 150 years, South

optimistic that we are starting to climb the ladder.”

Africa’s mining sector has been resilient and a leader

in employment for many people, including migrant workers

The mandate of the department

from neighbouring countries.

South Africa is known for its abundance of mineral

More recently, gross fixed capital formation in the mining

resources. It is estimated to have the world’s fifth largest

industry increased from R18 billion in 2004 to R87 billion

mining sector in terms of gross domestic product value

in 2014. Foreign direct investment in the industry grew

and its mining companies are key players in the global

considerably, from R112 billion in 2004 to R377 billion in

industry.

2014, while employment increased from 448 909 in 2004 to 495 592 in 2014.

and an efficient regulatory framework, these precious

These are the figures that give Mineral Resources Minister

minerals can be open to abuse. This is where the

Mosebenzi Zwane the confidence to say that mining in

Department of Mineral Resources comes in, says Minister

South Africa is here to stay.

Zwane.

“There are natural resources estimated to the tune of

“The department is at the centre of ensuring ongoing

R50 trillion that are still untapped in South Africa. What

transformation of South Africa’s mining industry. We

we need to do, as a country, is ensure that we, inter alia,

provide the regulatory framework and implement policies

commit to continuous research.

that ensure all South Africans benefit from our mines.

“We have been on visits to many countries. People are

“We are of the view that the wealth of the country should

eager to come to South Africa to invest, so the future looks

be shared among the people and our department is there

bright in our mining industry, contrary to other views,” he

to ensure that this is done. Our priorities are in the areas

says.

of policy certainty, health and safety and meaningful

In an interview with PSM recently, Minister Zwane commended the mining industry for working with

transformation.”

government during the difficult economic times that

Saving jobs

began in 2008. Despite slow growth and a drop in demand,

One of the key achievements of the mining sector over

South Africa’s mines continued to be resilient, he says.

the years has been the industry’s ability to provide jobs to

“The economic downturn was not a South African

both skilled and unskilled workers. But with the economic

problem. What we have been saying to the industry is

downturn and drop in demand, job losses have become

that during the times of economic boom for the sector,

a reality. A challenging environment, both locally and

which I like to compare with summer, we must also prepare

globally, has placed a strain on commodities.

for winter. “We do this so that when winter comes, we do not call it a crisis. The industry itself is cyclical and we are starting to

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However, without proper management of these mines

The department is aware that job cuts in the mining sector are likely to have a negative impact on the country's economy and increase unemployment.

Public Sector Manager • December 2016 / January 2017

PSM December/January Edition 2016/2017  

Public Sector Manager Aimed at all middle and senior managers in the Public Service and the Public Sector in general, Public Sector Manager...

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