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Sunday Times STLive By Chris Barron , 2012-03-11

So many Quetions


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Anglogold Ashanti paid R120000 to the ANC Youth League for access to the business lounge at its recent conference. Chris Barron asked CEO Mark Cutifani ...

I think the most important thing was that we got to hear all the issues from their perspective, and we got to watch how those issues were being articulated to the membership.

No, we hadn't heard the context or how the issues were being articulated. Like all these things, we were only getting sound bites. We felt it was important to get all of the context and all of the conversations.

No. But I think we better understand why they're taking this position and what the issues are that need to be resolved for them to take a different position.

A number of our people met a number of people in the processes and got to hear different perspectives and I think that was valuable.

We weren't expecting that. What we really wanted to understand is the breadth of the issues, the context for their positions and how we might think about articulating our position so that it lands appropriately.

I'm not sure that's their intent, to be quite frank. I think they want a better deal for South Africa. And what is clear to me is that we haven't articulated our positions well enough for them to understand the full implications of what they're talking to.

That's our sense of the nature of the feedback we were getting in those sessions.

No. We participated in a conference on the basis that you had to pay. I would have preferred not to have paid, but you had to pay to hear all the issues.

No.

Well, it's certainly clear that the leadership of the ANC has said it is not their current policy and that they will open the debate, and that's why they're funding research into the debate. We want to make sure we're a constructive participant in that debate.

I think it's important to acknowledge that the ANC has a number of processes and parts of the organisation with inputs in the debate, and this is one of the ANC's groupings. And, quite frankly, many of their members are going to be the ANC of the future.

We paid R120000 to sit and listen to the debate, period. The fact that somebody made an observation on an award we were given in Ghana, I think it's a red herring and we certainly won't respond to that. We wanted to treat people there with dignity and respect. The fact that somebody made that observation is irrelevant.

We're not quite sure if they're open to the debate, but certainly they were not able to articulate the negative consequences of nationalisation. So I don't think that, as an industry, we've landed our message. We've got to work a lot harder at making them understand those issues.

I would like to see the ANC be very clear on its position. I understand that they are going through a process and I respect that process, but I would like to see a stronger commitment to making sure we don't go down this road, because of the implications for us and the country.

The ANC has said it is not policy, but will be discussed at the policy conference. I would like it to be seen that they don't believe it will be policy beyond the conference.

Well, the mining industry in South Africa has underperformed the global industry by some 30%. I think this is one of the conversations that is hurting us.