Improved dialogue and effective implementation of the national
infrastructure development plan could position South Africa's
mining sector to capitalise on the next growth super cycle, say,
South Africa's mining sector, employing upward of half a
million people and indirectly sustaining millions more, faces
The recent news of the Association of Mineworkers and
Construction Union's (Amcu's) strike at three platinum
mines, just the latest in waves of action and challenges to
sustainability, underlines the need for a new path for the sector,
says Wayne Jansen, KPMG's global head of mining.
There are also the issues of decreasing productivity and the
continued devaluation of the rand to consider, he says. But with
labour issues top of mind in the sector, the strikes are "a
clear indicator that there is a need for improved dialogue in the
industry," says Jansen.
"A successful mining industry in South Africa is in the
interest of all stakeholders that are directly and indirectly
linked to it. Yet, the industry finds itself in a difficult time,
with a future that has perhaps never before been so uncertain.
Charting a new path for the sector will not simply happen on its
own," continues Jansen. "It requires a collaborative
effort amongst all stakeholders, bound together by a common
Africa was not well positioned to benefit fully from the last
economic super cycle, which began in the 1990s, ended in 2008.
However the beginnings of economic recovery in the developed
nations spells the potential start of the next super cycle of
growth, says Jansen.
"As a continent, we are now better placed to take advantage
of the renewed growth in the global economy but we must overcome
some major stumbling blocks, particularly in the mining industry.
Now is the time to ensure that the building blocks are in
place." These building blocks include components of the
national infrastructure development plan, part of the ambitious
national development plan (NDP) for South Africa.
This far-reaching infrastructure development plan, incorporating
18 planned strategic integration projects (SIPs) co-ordinated and
facilitated by the National Planning Commission (NPC) and the
Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordination Commission (PICC) aims to
put in place supporting infrastructure to position South Africa for
competitiveness and growth.
Minister of economic development Ebrahim Patel has said that the
plan is "aimed at reversing the spatial, social and economic
distortions of the colonial and apartheid era. As well as improving
living standards, it aims to create economic opportunities in
underdeveloped areas through improved roads, rail, ports and
broadband, as well as water and energy infrastructure.
In his department's annual report for 2012/2013, the
minister said: "In the financial year ending March 2013, the
estimated (unaudited) spending on infrastructure across the state
was more than R200-billion.
"If current trends continue, the administration is expected
to have spent about R1-trillion by the end of its term of office in
2014, doubling the achievement of the previous administration and
2.3 times higher than spending in real terms at any five year
period in more than 40 years.
"Construction of infrastructure under the plan monitored by
the PICC sustained about 180 000 direct jobs in the past financial
year. Eighteen strategic integrated projects have been developed
which integrate more than 150 individual infrastructure projects
clusters into a coherent package. The SIPs cover social and
economic infrastructure across all nine provinces, with an emphasis
on poorer regions. They include catalytic projects that can
fast-track development and growth. Work is being aligned with key
cross-cutting areas, especially human settlement planning, skills
development and local procurement."
With three of the SIPs directly impacting the mining sector,
stakeholders are cautiously optimistic that the plan, together with
a will to collaborate more closely across the sector, will position
South Africa to benefit from the next super cycle. However,
prioritisation, integration, effective management and realistic
funding models will be crucial, they note.
This article first appeared in the Mail & Guardian
supplement, 31 January 2013
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The Honourable Minister of Mineral Resources, Ms Susan Shabangu, reinforced during her 2012 budget speech on 10 May 2012, amongst other things, that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) remains determined to continue issuing stoppage notices in terms of section 54 of the Mine Health and Safety Act, No. 29 of 1996 (MHSA) to ensure compliance with the MHSA.
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