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Politics, Rants

A National Tragedy of Mine

In recent months the calls for nationalisation of mines in South Africa has been a hot topic of conversation. The capitalists oppose it. The intellectuals oppose it. Lawyers oppose it. Opposition parties oppose it. Many within the ranks of the ANC oppose it. The question is, why do some people keep pressing for this nationalisation?

I spoke to a man, admittedly not the educated kind. He firmly believes that when the mines of South Africa are nationalised “things will be better” because “we will all be rich.” It shocked me that this man knew so little about something, yet supported it so adamantly. I tried to explain to him, the concept of nationalism to him. And I wondered what the effect would be… My conclusion was bleak, especially if considering that history is a good teacher.

The same government that allowed the SABC, which it controls, to fall into R1 billion worth of debt wishes to control all mines. Johnny Walker blue was drank like cold drink by the directors of the SABC. Parties which cost thousands upon thousands of Rands, were thrown by the SABC. A company owned by our government…

The same government that forced Telkom, a JSE listed company, which it has a substantial share holding in, to buy Multi-Links in Nigeria. Multi-Links was one of the greatest disasters to ever hit Telkom, since it was pretty much a deep dark pit into which Telkom could throw shareholders’ money. Does the South African government really have business sense? Business is not only about “owning stuff,” its about “owning profitable stuff!” And to our prospective future president, Telkom is is a company in the ICT sector… NOT a utility!

The same government that did not force Eskom, which it also owns, to make provision for the building of power plants in 14 odd years?! Paying customers were forced to be without electricity for hours at a time, according to a schedule, because there was just not “enough to go around!” How third world is that? The CEO had zero to little sympathy with the average South African, but with his salary, why would he worry?

The same government that gave so much executive powers to a CEO appointed by them to SAA, as to ensure that SAA would never be profitable again. Selling all of its aeroplanes back to their manufacturers was mos a good idea… SAA is probably the first state-owned company in the history of South Africa in need of a bail out. That too happened before the term became popularised by the 2008/2009 global recession. They need taxpayer bail outs to keep SAA afloat, yet they still have a problem with mismanagement of funds, to this day…

The same government that allowed Spoornet director, Jakavula, to obtain government property valued at R250 000 for R85 000…

The same government that started the National Youth Development Agency as a place where members of the ANCYL could enrich themselves, by paying 300-and-something people R187.5 MILLION which is about 48% of the entire budget… 52% is thus allocated for “youth development” or is 48% used for ANC Youth League Enrichment? It begs the question…

I have to ask… Do we really trust our government to run the mines more than we would trust the likes of BHP Billiton, Anglo American, Impala Platinum, Lonmin, Exxaro, Gold Fields, Kumba etcetera?

How many jobs will be lost as a result of the nationalisation of mines?! No more competition, massive synergies, who needs so many employees? I thought it was the job of Cosatu to make decisions that would be in the interests of their members. Why are they not fiercely opposing the nationalisation of mines?

So many questions and so few clear answers. That is what happens when a government does not fear the electorate. We ask questions, but we get no answers!

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