The Chief Executive of Anglo American, Mark Cutifani, used his address at the Mining Indaba to attack perceptions that only one race or group of people benefit from the continued success and activities of mining companies like Anglo.
“Many people still don’t understand that the owners of most South African publicly listed mining companies are not the ‘Randlords’ or magnates of the previous generations, but rather, ordinary pension and investment fund owners – that is, average South African citizens of all races: Black, White, Coloured and Indian. And so, I hope by the end of my talk today people will understand that white and even black monopoly capital is a conversation that should be condemned to a difficult and dark South African past.”
To illustrate this in relation to the group’s assets in South Africa, Cutifani says 64% of mines the company operates and those they have empowered are effectively owned by South Africans – through direct and indirect shareholdings. “If I assume 27% direct black ownership in our mines, and add to this the participation by black South Africans in pension funds and directly on the JSE, black South Africans own more than 45% of our South African operating assets. If people want to see transformation, let them come talk to us at Anglo American!”
He also questioned the “dubious” objectives of those attempting to “redefine our current reality” through spurious labelling of capital so that it reflects gains accruing to one set of people – for example, the use of the term “White Monopoly Capital”, which purpotedly only accrues benefits to white people.
Cutifani would like stakeholders in the country’s mining industy to move away from finger pointing, and instead engage in open debate about making South African mining the giant it once was. But from his point of view there are a couple of non-negotiable elements that need to be in place to achieve this: firstly, “For investors, it goes without saying that regulatory certainty and the sanctity of private ownership under the constitution is paramount. They need to know that their capital is invested in a jurisdiction that has clear, fair and reasonable prescripts on the regulation of mining.”
And secondly, he identified the ease of doing business as vital ingredient to attracting companies to undertake investment. “For us, as mining companies, a business environment that promotes the ease of doing business over lengthy and complicated processes – which sometimes land up in the courts unnecessarily – could unlock more opportunities for us and our partners.”
Brought to you by Moneyweb