SONA: Mine sector's stability questioned

Ahead of the State of the Nation Address, analysts say mining laws remain a concern.

Parliament says spending for the State of Nation Address is R2 million less than last year. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - As President Jacob Zuma gets ready for tomorrow's State of the Nation Address (SONA), mining analysts are questioning whether the claim he made last year about there being certainty in the mining sector has been upheld.

Zuma will deliver his speech at 7pm in the National Assembly tomorrow.

Last year, Zuma spoke in the aftermath of the ANC's mine nationalisation debate.

"We believe that at a policy level we have managed to bring about certainty in the mining sector. The nationalisation debate was laid to rest," he said.

But mining analyst Peter Major says proposed changes to the current mining laws are worrying mine owners.

"Less ministerial discretion is better and more is worse. We seem to be having a lot more ministerial discretion in the revisions to the mineral sector."

He says investors simply won't sink billions of rands into long-term projects in South Africa if they aren't guaranteed a return.


Despite Zuma laying down the law to violent protesters during last year's SONA, it appears his warning has been mainly ignored by demonstrators.

"It is unacceptable when people's rights are violated by perpetrators of violent actions," he said.

The last few weeks have seen a number of violent protests which have seen several people killed and two police stations burnt down.

The president has made similar comments over the last few days after protests in Gauteng and other provinces.

But for the moment, it seems demonstrators are ignoring him.


Parliament has already spent R5.7 million on preparations which includes a banquet for invited guests.

Officials say this year's costs are R2 million less than what was spent last year.

Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Nomaindia Mfeketo says Parliament has been trying to cut costs.

"The cost of hosting a banquet at the CTICC is much cheaper than the cost of a tent."

But, since this is an election year, there will be another SONA after South Africans go to the polls on 7 May.

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