We all know who the ANC president will be‚ says Zwane

04 October 2017 - 11:43 By Allan Seccombe
Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane
Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane
Image: Sizwe Ndingane

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane says it’s a foregone conclusion who the next president of the ANC will be.

“We already know who will be president … It’s a done deal. We are not stressing. The policies won’t change. In January there will be new leadership and policies will remain the same‚” said Zwane‚ widely seen as an ally of President Jacob Zuma.

Zwane said the matter had already been decided at branch level around the country and the result was already known within the party.

He made the remarks at a gala dinner on Tuesday night.

The ANC is expected to elect a new leader in December. The leadership race has been hotly contested between deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and veteran ANC leader Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

President Zuma has made it clear that his ex-wife has his backing‚ leading to a bitter rivalry between supporters of Zuma and Ramaphosa.

Zwane’s comments came just days after violence broke out at a provincial ANC leadership conference in the Eastern Cape.

The brawl was triggered by a standoff between backers of Zuma and Ramaphosa. Zwane’s speech was delivered at a gala dinner on Tuesday night‚ boycotted by the Chamber of Mines on the eve of the two-day Jo’burg Indaba mining conference.

Zwane sounded a conciliatory tone‚ reaching out to the industry to resolve the impasse between the regulator and the industry.

Zwane‚ however‚ did not hold back from levelling criticism at those who denigrated the country and the mining industry‚ which is embroiled in a legal battle with the Department of Mineral Resources over the suspended third iteration of the Mining Charter.

The minister hit back at Chamber CEO Roger Baxter‚ who said last month the industry had lost confidence in Zwane‚ given the unresolved allegations of corruption hanging over him and officials in his department. Baxter made the remarks at the Africa Down Under mining conference in Australia in September. “I can’t go out as a minister and voice my anger in a foreign country. That is irresponsible‚” he said. “I’m here. Fight me here.”

But‚ speaking off the cuff‚ Zwane appealed for a resolution to the court battles pending between the chamber and the minister and his department.

Mining bosses are seeking a judicial review of the charter and a declaratory order around whether empowerment deals have to be topped up after black investors sell their shares. The former application will be before a full bench of judges in December.

Zwane mixed his metaphors when he called for a debate on “radical economic transformation”‚ using speed limits and glasses of brandy to explain how he had one desire and the industry another.

“I’m engaging with all stakeholders to say: What do you want?” Zwane said. He said if the parties moved away from having their arguments in the media and instead locked themselves in a room then solutions could be found.

“If people are not happy‚ they can go to court. If I’m not happy about them going to court‚ I go to them and say: Why do you take this black minister to court? Can we not engage?” he said.

One delegate‚ who declined to be named‚ said Zwane’s conciliatory tone was “too little too late and where is this suddenly coming from? We’ve really tried to engage him but nothing came of it. So‚ why now? There is no trust in this man.”

Setting aside his overtures‚ Zwane had a dig at those in the industry who wanted to tell him how to do his job‚ acknowledging that he was not an expert when it came to mining. “Don’t help me produce legislation. You are not legislation producers. You are business people‚” he said.

The delegate explained the criticism of legislation was designed to raise awareness of the dire and unintended consequences of those bits of law.

- BusinessLIVE