Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Now that Ghana has overtaken SA in the production of gold because of its lower-cost mines and more investor-friendly policies, it remains to be seen which other African countries will outstrip us. Globally, we are no longer among the top five producers, in fact, we are now eighth.

With the SA unions’ strategy of navigating management and workers into positions of stalemate, we may eventually not be a competitor in world markets at all. Corporate taxes were cut in Ghana, but SA cannot afford to do the same because of its ruinous policies — and of course the theft and corruption that has almost crippled our country and left the coffers bare.

Gold Fields says the authorities in Ghana “understand what makes for a sound business environment”. Yet, as our mines shrink because of age and other cost factors, mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe says the government will have to look for other mining opportunities in “new minerals that are discovered”.

The challenge will be whether we have the foresight and ability to plan a way forward, as Ghana has done, to make our country investor-friendly again. Obviously, the government will have to start by improving things at home affairs, and the unions’ powers will have to be curtailed. Otherwise investors will look elsewhere for investments.

As things stand many miscreants guilty of state capture and corruption will have to be charged before investor confidence is restored. We  have a long journey ahead.

Nathan Cheiman