It was an historic day at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Tuesday as President Cyril Ramaphosa became SA’s first democratic president to address the 25th annual Investing in African Mining Indaba.
Attended by thousands of mining industry leaders, ministers, senior government representatives, community members, investors and media hams, the Mining Indaba is the continent’s largest mining investment conference, and on Monday, it opened trading on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
The conference aims to support Africa’s sustainable economic development while providing attendees with a value chain and four-day high quality content, deal-making and networking opportunities.
A stir of glittering eyes and sharp ears in the crowd on the main stage on Tuesday afternoon focused carefully when Mr Ramaphosa moved to allay investor jitters in the mining industry.
Mr Ramaphosa charged that the expropriation of land without compensation would not involve taking away investors’ land.
“We must emphasise that our approach will enhance, rather than undermine, property rights as we seek to address what we have termed the original sin which was committed against black South Africans during colonial and apartheid days.
“The measure we are proposing will apply to land for the purposes of land reform only, and within a clearly defined set of circumstances.
“This measure will be undertaken in a way that promotes economic development and agricultural output, and that does not undermine the principles of our Constitution or the rule of law. Investors need not fear that their investments and assets will be taken away from them,” said Mr Ramaphosa.
Mr Ramaphosa said the government was working on a clear plan to address problems that had bombarded power utility, Eskom.
He mentioned 10 key principles for shared value
in the mining industry that he believes will benefit the mining industry, the society,
the government and the economy.
He said the principles will increase women and youth employment, education and training in the mining sector, investment opportunities, infrastructure, beneficiation, health and safety of workers, small business opportunities, inclusive growth and conducive collaboration between workers and shareholding companies.
“We need to use this platform provided by the mining indaba to strengthen our collaborative efforts aimed
at regional integration, as government plays its role in creating an environment in which mining thrives for the benefit of all its people,” said Mr Ramaphosa.
“Mining is a necessity, not just an indulgence. We must strike deals that are fair to both sides. Negotiations between companies and governments should be transparent, and accessible and easily understandable by citizens.”
According to Brand South Africa, SA’s mining sector contributed 7.3% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) last year, as compared to the 6.8% of 2017. Thus, the sector grew by 1.2%.