JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – South Africa needs to address uncertainties over ownership, tax treatment and allocation of mineral rights if it is overcome the current constraints to mining growth and investment, the National Planning Commission’s (NPC’s) inaugural ‘National Development Plan’ argues.
The document, which was handed over to Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe by NPC chairperson Minister Trevor Manuel on Friday, indicated that South Africa should seek to increase its mineral exports between now and 2030 as part of a bigger plan to bolster growth and jobs in a bid to “eliminate” poverty and dramatically “reduce” inequality.
In yet another indication that government is unlikely to move towards a policy of mine nationalisation – which is being advocated strongly by the African National Congress Youth League and its now deposed leader, Julius Malema – the report stressed a need to remove the “most pressing constraints to growth, investment and job creation”.
In the context of mining, Manuel reiterated the report’s assertion that this would require “giving clear certainty over property rights”. But it will also have to increase South Africa’s “rail, water and energy capacity”, while sustaining service affordability.
The NPC deputy chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa says that, while the debate over nationalisation could well continue beyond the ANC’s policy conference next year, certainty on property relations is the “bedrock” of a democracy and of a “thriving and working economy”.
Therefore, the report, which is backed by detailed research and a 26-member commission, drawn in their individual capacities from the length and breath of civil society, has concluded that more certainty is required on property relations.
Manuel adds that investors also need to know that the norms on property rights outlined in South Africa’s Constitution will be honoured, adding that such protection is a fundamentally important Constitutional value.
Various transport, energy and water infrastructure projects were also identified as necessary to help bolster resources production and exports.
Some of the projects highlighted included building about 40 000 MW of electricity capacity by 2030, the construction of a new coal line to unlock coal deposits in the Waterberg, and the extension of the existing coal lines, upgrading the iron-ore line to Saldanha Bay and the construction of infrastructure to import liquefied natural gas, while intensifying exploration and development of conventional and unconventional gas resources, including shale gas.