Leaders must inject hope into mining to unlock jobs and investment waiting in the wings
Cyril Ramaphosa’s ‘bright future’ message is music to the ears of firms that have sufficient risk appetite to invest
In the late 19th century, when reports emerged of the discovery of gold in the Witwatersrand, Paul Kruger, the president of the Transvaal in colonial South Africa, was dismayed. "Pray and implore Him who has stood by us [Afrikaners] that He will continue to do so, for I tell you today that every ounce of gold taken from the bowels of our soil will yet have to be weighed up with rivers of tears," Kruger lamented. Fast forward to the early part of the 21st century and the president of democratic SA, Cyril Ramaphosa, says mining should be seen as a "sunrise" rather than "sunset" industry. "We will revitalise our mining sector [and] with a revival in commodity prices, we are determined to work with mining companies and with unions and communities to grow this sector to attract new investment to create jobs and set the industry on a new path of transformation and sustainability," Ramaphosa promised. Between the time when Kruger took a dim view of mining and the time when Ramaphosa saw a ...