What is needed today is implementation and not a conservation about models such as “resource nationalism” said the South African Minister of Mineral Resources, Susan Shabangu, in her address to the Africa down Under Conference in Perth, Australia.

She stated that in the recent years, this concept has been extensively exhausted and bedded in South Africa and elsewhere in the world. “The renewed proponents of resource nationalisms are intent on reneging their environmental and social legacy, using arguments such as mitigating exposure to developing economies as being good for their share price. It baffles one’s mind that such proponents leading companies founded in such developing countries can perceive their founding cradle as risky, least their intentions are clearly spelt out.

“Our focal point should be accelerated towards optimising social capital by ensuring that we grow the industry in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. The social capital is that glue that holds a society together, the shared values and norms, without which one cannot put together a modern, successful society. “

The Minister took the audience back to South Africa’s transition to democracy as, which she termed “surviving the 1980’s and creating the early 1990’s was an act of historic heroism and leadership.”

She said that during that transitional period, the then Chairman of Anglo American Chairman’s Fund, Mike O Dowd wrote a cynical and disengaged article in which he claimed that South Africa will muddle through the transition. This was a popular view held by many inside and outside of the country. Well, we reached an unprecedented apex through a dedicated, committed and swift leadership with humility.

She said the recent challenges facing the mining industry in South Africa must be appositely characterised as short term in nature. “As JP Landman, a political economist at Nedbank Private Wealth told the Cape Town Press Club last week that South Africans should start looking at “long term view” and look beyond the immediate drama of country’s headlines. He further challenges the conventional wisdom that South Africa is on the verge of collapse, an implosion. To the contrary, economic growth recorded 3.1% in 2010, 3.5% in 2011 and 2.5% in 2012, which hardly confirms a disaster. The basis for growth is deeply rooted in democratic policies and fiscal discipline. “

“Our policies are informed by the notion that “there can be no true democracy without a functional economy and society”, she further stated.  “Consequently, our policies recognise the need to grow the economy, balanced with the importance of redressing inherited man-made inequalities that continues to torment. This milestone has been attained through our regulatory reform, which effectively introduced the social license to operate.”

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