Mining royalties regime to come under spotlight – Zuma – by Martin Creamer ( – February 14, 2013)

JOHANNESBURG ( – South Africa’s current mining royalties regime would come under the spotlight as part of a tax study the Finance Minister would commission, President Jacob Zuma said in his yearly State of the Nation address to a joint sitting of Parliament on Thursday evening.

Zuma also revealed that he had held top-level talks with Anglo American chairperson Sir John Parker on the plans of Anglo American Platinum to restructure and retrench 14 000 employees.

Construction of the Majuba coal railway line, the President said, would begin soon in order to switch the transportation of coal from road to rail in Mpumalanga to protect that province’s roads, and additional rail capacity to improve the transportation of iron-ore had opened up South Africa’s West Coast.

On the imminent tax study, he said that Pravin Gordhan would be commissioning the review of South Africa’s current tax policies to make sure that the country had an appropriate revenue base to support public spending. “Part of this study will evaluate the current mining royalties regime, with regard to its ability to suitably serve our people,” Zuma added.

He revealed that his meeting with Parker had taken place in Pretoria two weeks ago.

Mining, which was historically the backbone of the economy, had faced difficulties after being hit by wildcat strikes and the tragedy in Marikana, where 44 people were killed.

“Through working together we were able to restore social stability in the area,” President Zuma said.

An inter-Ministerial committee, made up of senior Cabinet Ministers, had assisted families and Judge Ian Farlam continued to preside over the judicial commission of inquiry into the incident.

An agreement that government, labour in the form of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, Nactu and Fedusa, together with Business Unity South Africa, the Black Business Council and the community sector, reached in October had laid the basis for a return to work across the mining industry.

The group had agreed to continue to work together to strengthen collective bargaining, address the housing problems in mining towns, support national infrastructure development, address youth unemployment and identify measures to reduce inequalities.

It would report back in due course with specific plans for the mining towns of Rustenburg, Lephalale, Emalahleni, West Rand, Welkom, Klerksdorp, Burgersfort, Steelpoort, Carletonville and Madibeng.

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