South Africa

Ministers move to reassure investors over mines unrest


South African ministers were forced to reassure the investment community yesterday after more mining protests led to more shootings yesterday.

The current crisis started on 16th August when police shot 112 strikers, killing 34 at the Lonmin platinum mine at Marikana, northwest of Johannesburg. Since then there have been further protests and yesterday four miners were shot by police at the Gold One International mine east of Johannesburg.

Yesterday’s incident was just the latest in a series of protests by miners across the country over the past few months which has rattled politicians and worried the investment community. The continuing unrest caused the Minister in the Presidency for Performance, Monitoring and evaluation as well as Administration, Collins Chabane to hold a press conference to calm investors’ worries.

The relevant part of the minister’s statement is as follows:

“The tragic incident at Marikana is not a reflection of the business environment in South Africa. We would like to reassure all stakeholders and the international community that mining operations continue unhindered in other parts of the North West province and throughout the country. Government remains in control of the situation and law and order continues to prevail. The country continues to fully support direct investment and appropriate incentives and the legislative framework is in place to give confidence and predictability to investment decisions and security of tenure.

The events of the past weeks have not yet impacted on our ability to attract investors to our country. We have also not had any concerns raised through our foreign offices abroad about the damage done to investor sentiments. Government through the DTI, has facilitated several investments in the past weeks in Mining, Manufacturing, and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). These investments should be seen against the back drop of South Africa’s improved rating on the World Competitiveness report where we improved our standing from 54th to 50th place as well as our ratings on the Ease of Doing Business index where South Africa was ranked 35th globally.”

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