ON THE MONEY
STUART THEOBALD: Zwane’s role in decline of mining angers the most on revelation of Gupta e-mails
The theft of Optimum Coal is perhaps the largest smash and grab in the state capture story
One of the tragedies of the Zuma era is the mining sector. It has suffered great human and financial costs, from the Marikana massacre to hundreds of thousands of lost jobs, to billions of rand of investment that has not materialised. It is a disaster of both commission and omission, from the actions of a hapless minister operating under instruction from the state-capture machine, to the decade-long failure to implement proper policy. The industry, which has done more than any other to shape the economic history of SA, has consequently drifted towards irrelevance. From a peak of 22% of GDP in 1980, it now barely musters 7%. From a peak of 763,000 employees in 1987, it now employs 458,000. In constant currency terms, mining’s GDP has halved since 1994. In Australia, mining’s total output has multiplied threefold over the same period. Brazil’s has increased 2.5 times. Canada’s has grown 40%. In part, this might have happened anyway. Much of SA’s gold resources have been exhausted and ...