Com­pa­nies &In­vest­ments

Finweek English Edition - - COMPANIES & INVESTMENTS - David McKay

up­lift­ment, and R20bn in cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture in the 2013 fi­nan­cial year, equal to 59% of to­tal cap­i­tal al­lo­ca­tion that Con­sta­ble says will con­tinue. So no di­vest­ment.

He t hen adds, how­ever, t hat t he na­tion­al­i­sa­tion of Canada’s Petro-Canada in Al­berta from where Con­sta­ble hails, was an un­mit­i­gated disas­ter. “The govern­ment al­most ran the com­pany into the ground,” he says, adding that it didn’t have the depth of man­age­ment to run a com­pany of that com­plex­ity. “Govern­ment should fo­cus on health care, in­fra­struc­ture. That is the ap­pro­pri­ate place to fo­cus on,” he adds.

It was a cu­ri­ous comment to make but is sug­ges­tive of his frus­tra­tion. Is it now that Con­sta­ble is see­ing what it takes to op­er­ate in the SA reg­u­la­tory and po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment?

Re­spond­ing to ques­tions at the year-end re­sults pre­sen­ta­tion , he com­plained about the lack of reg­u­la­tory un­cer­tainty in SA. “The reg­u­la­tory frame­work must stay in place; we need cer­tainty for in­vestors to come into SA.” That’s about as out­spo­ken as Con­sta­ble has been in his short ten­ure at Sa­sol. But the is­sue that gets his goat the most seems to be the National Trea­sury’s pro­posed car­bon tax: a R120 per ton im­post that hits Sa­sol the hard­est of nearly all of SA’s smoke­stack com­pa­nies.

“We def­i­nitely sup­port a lower car­bon econ­omy, but we don’t think that the cur­rent tax pro­posal is the ap­pro­pri­ate way,” he says, adding that SA is pre­ma­turely aim­ing at a car­bon emis­sions tax some six or seven years ear­lier than is likely glob­ally. “We want to be very care­ful to sup­port the Govern­ment, but we must go into it with eyes open,” says Con­sta­ble.

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