Royal Bafokeng Platinum, which came under intense safety scrutiny by the Department of Mineral Resources after it ditched Gupta-family contract miner JIC, is not lamenting the departure of the family’s champion, former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane.
After the 2017 turmoil of a badly drafted third Mining Charter, a political battle to wrest control of the country from then-president Jacob Zuma and the weak rand, there was a sense of hope with the nomination of Cyril Ramaphosa as president, CEO Steve Phiri said.
"This positive sentiment will need to turn into action," said Phiri, one of the most outspoken mining CEOs around the department’s ineptitude and corruption under Zwane.
He tore into Zwane, who was dumped from Ramaphosa’s new Cabinet, citing corruption and inappropriate behaviour allegations linked to the Guptas hanging over him.
"The era of the previous minister was marred by controversy, despondency and hopelessness. We became the laughing stock of the world. How this was allowed to continue for so long defies any imagination.
"Perhaps the truth will come out soon, how one man was allowed to destroy this industry with concomitant negative impacts on the economy," he said. "He overstayed his welcome, if any, and I am not unhappy to see his back."