Dept: Ramatlhodi did nothing wrong

The ‘M&G’ reported this morning the minister owned R20 million worth of shares in Amplats.

Minister of Mineral Resources Ngoako Ramatlhodi. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi did nothing wrong by trying to intervene in the platinum strike while still indirectly holding shares in Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), the Department of Mineral Resources said on Friday.

The Mail & Guardian reported this morning the minister owned R20 million worth of shares in the mining company through black economic empowerment partner Atlatsa Resources.

The ministry said the shares are owned with his wife, who he is now divorcing.

The department said due to the fact they are married in community of property, the process is taking some time.

Spokesperson Mahlodi Muofhe says Ramatlhodi couldn't have foreseen that he would've been appointed as a minister.

He says Ramatlhodi 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."

Shortly after his appointment last month, Ramalthodi announced his first duty would be to end the crippling strike in the platinum sector.

He established an inter-governmental task team to try and break the deadlock in the troubled sector.

Ramalthodi later announced he was withdrawing from negotiations between platinum producers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

Union leaders and mine bosses on Tuesday signed a three-year settlement in Johannesburg after a deal was reached on Monday.

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

South Africa accounts for 40 percent of global platinum output.

The unprecedented five-month long strike was largely attributed for South Africa's shrinking GDP, which contracted in the first quarter of 2014.