South Africa’s Zuma Dismisses Nationalization of Mines

Posted February 10th, 2012 at 6:25 am (UTC-5)
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South African President Jacob Zuma has reiterated his government's stance that the country's valuable mining industry will not be nationalized.

President Zuma told a business gathering in Cape Town Friday that “nationalization is not our policy, it is as clear as that.”

Sections of the ruling African National Congress party, most notably its youth league, have called for a state takeover of the country's rich platinum, gold and manganese mines.

Earlier this week, two government ministers dismissed the plan as unviable. An ANC task force also concluded that the move would hurt the country's economy.

However, ANC youth league leader Julius Malema continues to demand a state takeover, saying that mining profits are not benefiting the country's poor black majority.

Malema was suspended from the party late last year for challenging the leadership of President Zuma.

Though nationalization of the mines now seems unlikely, the ANC study did recommend substantially higher taxes on the mining industry, as the government looks for ways to spread South Africa's wealth to the 40 percent of its population living in poverty.

Mr. Zuma said his plan to invest in infrastructure is the best way to create jobs.