The eagerly-awaited speech by mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane before the Investing in African Mining Indaba conference in Cape Town on Feb. 8 - the first to the mining community since he was named four months ago - proved somewhat disappointing.
Zwane, who has no particular expertise in the sector but has been meeting with mining chiefs since the end of 2015, tried to reassure the industry by swearing he would never allow a new strike to erupt like the violent walkout in 2014 that closed down the platinum sector for five long months.
Zwane also assured the audience that a long-expected plan to modify the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) would be finalized by the end of the second quarter. Equally, a revision of South Africa’s Mining Charter will be completed by the end of April.
Still, the mining companies felt Zwane failed to answer their questions concerning such burning issues as the energy crisis that’s hampering their growth and the huge layoffs in the industry stemming from the closedown of mines and collapse in world metal markets.
The people behind Zwane
Named acting director general in the mineral resources department on Jan. 29. David Msiza, a chief inspector of mines, was one of the unexpected guests at a VIP lunch thrown by the South African law firm ENSAfrica at the Fourteen Restaurant in Cape Town on Feb. 9. A mining engineer who has worked for the ministry for several years, Msiza has, like his new boss, mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane, promised to revise the Mining Code as early as the end of March.
The other guests (also see here) included the ANC’s Treasurer General, Zweli Mkhize, number three man in the party. He is also close to Zwane, the current ANC treasurer in the Free State Region. Mkhize served as a Prime Minister from 2010 to 2013 but he had to resign because of the use of public funds for private airplanes.
Source: Africa Intelligence