One day journalists asked the head of a big mining group why he was no longer investing in South Africa but investing very heavily in South America. His reply was: “When I go to South America to invest, the South Americans roll out the red carpet, whereas when I take steps to invest in South Africa, the South Africans roll out the red tape.”
The subsequent total departure of that big mining group from South Africa has been a colossal lost opportunity. The South African economy would have far-reaching competitive advantages if that very influential global mining group had continued to invest here. But it no longer even has a presence here, which is to the huge disadvantage of the people of this country. The time has now come to reverse our negative approach to investors and to roll out the red carpet urgently to exploration and mining investors.
The world is entering a totally new phase that will require metals and minerals South Africans overlooked in the past but are still in the ground here. We will all benefit very materially now if we just copy what other highly successful mining jurisdictions have been doing for decades. We desperately need the job creation as well as the multilinked economic growth that exploration and mining bring.