Joburg Indaba writes open letter to new Minister

(Johannesburg 14 October 2015) 2015 Joburg Indaba opens its event with an open letter to Minister Zwane urging him to pay attention to the mining sector.

Chairperson of the Joburg Indaba Bernard Swanepoel opened this year’s two day event focused on investing in mining and resources in Africa with an open letter to the new Minister of Minerals and Resources

Dear Minister Zwane

“Your recently adopted child is not living up to its natural ability. We urge you to pay attention to two specific areas, namely Leadership and People Management Skills and Regulatory Certainty and the consistent application thereof. Failure to impact positively in the short term on these areas may result in the candidate not participating in the next commodity boom cycle, nor will it fulfill its potential to be a significant contributor to society and the economy of South Africa.


The Joburg Indaba Team

More than 78% of attending delegates at the 2015 Joburg Indaba do not believe that the ANC government supports the National Development Plan (NDP).  In his key note address Trevor Manual reiterated that the NDP does not contain a chapter on mining, but rather looks at the whole of South Africa some 20-30 years back, and the kind of country we want to be in 2030, evaluating promises made against the Constitution, and tries to remedy the unfulfilled parts.”

The conditions have changed significantly from the time the NDP was drafted, especially in the mining sector.

“The mining sector is the DNA of South Africa. Solutions lie in central sector collaboration, and the Joburg Indaba convenes all the necessary stakeholders to do this” mentions Trevor Manual, “2016’s global economic outlook is going to be tougher than 2015.  The (NDP) plan isn’t perfect but at least there is a way forward and now is the time to engage with government and ensure its success”.

Bobby Godsell, termed as an “elder” of the mining industry, spoke as a citizen and expressed some concern on the change of leadership midst three exercises currently underway to fix the industry.

“In 970/1980s we faced challenges, we lost 250 lives, lived in a State which declared war, Thabo Mbeki quoted in the New York Times that necklacing was a regrettable but necessary instrument of struggle, but this industry managed to find leadership and tackle things.  Back then it was impossible to have a trade union in the mining industry, but we proved them wrong.  If we could just mobilise the leaders of capital, government, mine owners, and fund managers we could get it right.  It’s up to the leaders of labour, management and government, now is the time for them to stand up and I hope the new Minister will do this,” concluded Godsell.

“Public comments are often necessary but do not tell the whole story.  South Africans insult each other in public, but it’s the private conversations that we should be able to have”, says James Motlatsi another “elder” in the mining sector who posed the questions “Why did you change the mining minster now Mr President? And how do we solve the migrant labour issue?

“Before you change the Minister, approach the captains of industry, labour, and Chamber of Mines, because you are disrupting the programs that are already in the pipeline.  This industry needs to be informed about any changes in cabinet”, mentioned Motlatsi.

“In 1957 the Germans took a decision to save their mining industry.  The approach was collective and they did.  In 1984 the British took a decision to destroy the industry, and they did.  If we get agreement between organised labour and management, then the government has no choice but to follow them.”

Considering the current fractious relationship between companies and unions, especially where managers and leaders rate themselves so poorly when it comes to listening, people skills and ability to communicate strategy and engage and inspire their workers, one can only speculate how this will play out.

Day two of the Joburg Indaba commences tomorrow at 09h00 at the Inanda Club, in Johannesburg with perspectives on the modernizing of the industry coming from Terence Goodlace, CEO Impala Platinum Holdings and Joseph Mathunjwa, President AMCU.

For further information please contact Alison Spratley Head Media, Joburg Indaba or +27 (0) 82 467 121