(Bloomberg) — South African President Cyril Ramaphosa may be running out of time to enact the reforms required to attract significant investments in the country’s mining industry.
That’s the fear expressed by Sibanye Gold Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Neal Froneman, who prefers to look at opportunities in West Africa, the Americas and Australia. The risks of doing business in his home country will increase should weak economic growth and ballooning government debt be compounded by the loss of South Africa’s last investment-grade credit rating, he said.
“There has been a distinct lack of turnaround, if anything we have gone backward,” Froneman said in an interview before executives gather in Cape Town on Monday for Africa’s biggest mining conference. “To be clear and blunt, he also hasn’t made some of the difficult decisions and we are hurtling into a debt trap.”
Ramaphosa came to office two years ago determined to tackle corruption and revitalize Africa’s most industrialized economy, which has languished after almost a decade of mismanagement under his predecessor Jacob Zuma.
Moody’s Investors Service, the last company to rate the nation’s debt at investment grade, said last week that it’s “a bit early” to judge the government’s policy and structural reforms.
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