Our govern­ment is a head­less chicken

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - JM Bou­vier

IT WAS HEART­BREAK­ING to read an ar­ti­cle about the in­cred­i­ble boom in the Aus­tralian min­ing in­dus­try. The prof­its gen­er­ated re­cently were in ex­cess of A$200 bil­lion (R2.04 tril­lion), and with new in­vest­ments top­ping $20bnn when last year all the in­vest­ment that South Africa man­aged to at­tract and not just for min­ing, was a mi­nus­cule $2bn. Now com­pare this to Aus­tralia’s for­tunes.

Fi­nally we have our “es­teemed” Min­is­ter Zwane ham­mer­ing the last nail into the cof­fin of the min­ing in­dus­try with the new amend­ments of the Min­ing Char­ter and the sus­pen­sion of new min­ing and ex­plo­ration li­cences, which will harm the frag­ile in­dus­try even fur­ther. We see al­ready the re­sults with An­gloGold Ashanti shed­ding 8 500 jobs with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.

For decades now our min­ing in­dus­try has been on a down­ward spi­ral, bleed­ing jobs at the rate of 1 200 to 1 500 per month and the in­dus­try hav­ing re­trenched more than 70 000 jobs in the last five years, when we are blessed and en­dowed with the best re­sources in the world to mine.

Then I read the Fraser In­sti­tute’s new list, and got even more de­pressed be­cause we have dropped from the top five in the world to be sit­ting as the 74th min­ing in­vest­ment pref­er­ence in the world now.

Wow, what an achieve­ment for the ANC govern­ment.

The rea­sons are many and vary­ing, like the mil­i­tant unions re­quest­ing in­creases of 15% per year in a low in­fla­tion en­vi­ron­ment; the con­stant strikes; the slow eco­nomic growth; pol­icy un­cer­tainty, but mainly that the govern­ment has no idea what­so­ever how to run not just the min­ing in­dus­try, but the coun­try.

Small won­der that most of our min­ing com­pa­nies keep on in­vest­ing in off­shore des­ti­na­tions and they have stopped in­vest­ing in this coun­try, with the re­cent out­flows al­ready top­ping R350bn.

While the govern­ment talks and runs around like a head­less chicken and pushes its own ver­sion of trans­for­ma­tion, which is a pie in the sky and which is not go­ing to hap­pen if there is no growth in the econ­omy, and I mean growth of 7% as the IMF sug­gested just last week and not the shock­ingly 0.3% that was achieved last year or the govern­ment’s pro­jec­tion of less than 1% for this year(which ac­cord­ing to me will be even worse than last year, be­cause another down­grade is loom­ing at the be­gin­ning of Au­gust) and when our pop­u­la­tion growth is al­most 2%. I won­der when we can start ab­sorb­ing the mil­lions of un­em­ployed.

Does the govern­ment with its cheap talk and fancy slo­gans not re­alise they must take into con­sid­er­a­tion that un­less we grow at the above rates and with a tech­ni­cal re­ces­sion which will be a full blown one soon, we will keep on go­ing into a deeper hole than we are in al­ready?



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