JOHANNESBURG (miningwekly.com) – Without change, the South African mining industry would lose another 100 000 jobs, said Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani, who six years ago accurately predicted the recent 100 000 job demise in South African mining.
“I'll say it again, absent of change, we’ll lose another 100 000 jobs,” the outspoken Australian forecast once more, while calculating that for every 100 000 jobs lost, one million people are adversely affected.
What’s more, he outlined in a year-end address to journalists that South Africa's future did “not bear thinking about” if the country could not put its 27% unemployed citizens to work.
While the people would decide who the leaders of South Africa would be – "good, bad or ugly" – the company was committed to working with union leaders, nongovernmental organisations and faith-based leaders and "would not be silent".
"We'll argue our position on policy with great passion. We'll protect our shareholders, our stakeholders and our business partners with steel and determination,” he promised as the country heads towards the momentous elective conference of the African National Congress from December 16 to 18.
While at times Anglo American's public statements might not be comfortable for some, he said they would be honest, direct and consistent with the truth of the dream of the South African rainbow nation.
What was absolutely crucial was the introduction of a policy framework that encouraged investment as well as a clear understanding that South Africa did not have the cash or the resources to build the mining industry from its current positioning.
Some appeared not to understand that foreign direct investment was absolutely essential for the creation new mines, more jobs, infrastructure and economic growth.
He praised South Africa’s democratic decisiveness of 1994 as providing a solution to "one of the most intractable and difficult social issues across the face of the earth”, and said that he continued to see the burning light of solution-searching in every single South African that he met.
The solution now being sought centred on the sharing of future fruits: "The key question is: How do we make a better South Africa for all South Africans? In the end, it's the average South African, it's the people who haven't been able to share in what the things that all of us in this room share. How do we make their lives different? If we, as an industry, can't work out what that looks like, then we'll have failed the test of leadership,” said Cutifani, who disclosed his involvement in ‘courageous conversations’, led by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.