Spotlight on Ramatlhodi's platinum interests

The minister reportedly holds a stake in a BEE partner of Amplats worth an estimated R20m.

Minister of Mineral Resources Ngoako Ramatlhodi. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Questions continue to be asked about Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi's apparent conflict of interest following reports that he holds a stake in a black economic empowerment (BEE) partner of Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) worth an estimated R20 million.

Shortly after his appointment last month, Ramalthodi announced his first duty would be to end the crippling strike in the platinum sector and established an inter-governmental task team to try and break the deadlock in the strike.

But shortly afterwards, he announced he was withdrawing from the negotiations between platinum producers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

Today, the Mail & Guardian is reporting that the minister owns shares in Amplats through the company's BEE partner Atlatsa Resources.

The minister's spokesperson, advocate Mahlodi Muofhe, says he did declare his interests when he took up his new post.

"The minister instructed his attorney to put all his mining interests into a blind trust and that was a simple instruction. His attorney came back to him and said he has to resign from all his interests."

Amcu leadership and mine bosses on Tuesday signed a three-year settlement in Johannesburg after a deal was reached between the parties on Monday.

Around 70,000 Amcu-affiliated mineworkers embarked on a work stoppage in January, demanding a basic salary of R12,500 per month.

The action halted mines that normally account for 40 percent of global platinum output and hit the country's overall GDP, pushing it into contraction in the first quarter of the year.