Finweek English Edition - - IN THE NEWS -

f irst t wo months of his ap­point­ment in May, he took the un­usual step of in­ter­ven­ing in the plat­inum strike and then, only weeks later, an­nounced he would ask that im­por­tant amend­ments to the Min­eral & Pe­tro­leum Re­sources De­vel­op­ment Act ( MPRDA) be re­ferred back to Par­lia­ment be­cause they were not in­vestor-friendly enough. Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma heeded the call and re­ferred the amend­ments to the Na­tional Assem­bly. He then said in a let­ter to Par­lia­ment that the pro­posed amend­ments were un­con­sti­tu­tional, po­ten­tially i n breach of South Africa’s in­ter­na­tional trade agree­ments and gave too much dis­cre­tion to the min­is­ter.

The last point is as­ton­ish­ing, and wor­ry­ing, be­cause min­is­te­rial dis­cre­tion was the guid­ing

prin­ci­ple of the amend­ments. Zuma’s let­ter there­fore sug­gests that the amend­ments could be changed, which will be a con­cern for the Cham­ber of Mines bear­ing in mind that Ra­matl­hodi’s rea­sons for re­turn­ing the bill was to cre­ate sep­a­rate laws for the oil and gas sec­tor. The cham­ber lauded Ra­matl­hodi be­cause the hard-won com­pro­mises which the cham­ber said it had ex­tracted in the amend­ments would not be tam­pered with, whereas Zuma’s let­ter would sug­gest the op­po­site.

There was con­cern in the min­ing sec­tor when Ra­matl­hodi was f i rst ap­pointed be­cause he was viewed as a na­tion­al­ist who would in­crease state i nvolve­ment i n t he min­ing sec­tor. How­ever, the ev­i­dence of his words sug­gests that is not quite the case. Not yet.

Hanré Ros­souw, head of re­sources: f r ont i e r a nd e merg­ing mar­kets for In­vestec Se­cu­ri­ties, sa i d t hat Ra­matl­hodi had brought some or­der to the port­fo­lio where pre­vi­ously the en­vi­ron­ment tended to­wards con­fu­sion. “He is def­i­nitely more process-driven and seems to have a bet­ter ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the min­ing char­ter,” said Ros­souw, who added that Ra­matl­hodi’s le­gal train­ing is a fac­tor.

Ra­matl­hodi’s pre­de­ces­sor, Susan Shabangu, who is now the min­is­ter of women’s af­fairs, was more of a “streetf ighter,” he said. Shabangu was also a trade union­ist to whom ver­bal fol­lies were part of her mo­dus operandi.

Whi l e the re­ferra l of the amend­ments has re­ceived a lot of press, and will con­tinue to be picked over in the com­ing weeks and months, Ra­matl­hodi’s re­cent com­ments about the cre­ation of a na­tional cham­pion in the min­ing sec­tor have re­ceived less at­ten­tion.

Speak­ing to in­vestors in London, Ra­matl­hodi said t hat with An­glo

Ngoako Ra­matl­hodi

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