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ANC concerned with Zwane's appointment as Mineral Resources Minister

The most concerning issue raised is Mosebenzi Zwane's lack of experience in the mining industry.

FILE: New Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane was sworn in at the Union Buidings in Pretoria on 23 September 2015. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - The appointment of the new Minister of Mineral Resources has reportedly raised concern within the African National Congress (ANC) only two days after he was sworn in at the Union Buildings as Ngoako Ramatlhodi's replacement.

Mosebenzi Zwane was appointed minister of the crucial portfolio after serving as MEC of Agriculture and Economic Development in the Free State.

The president's decision to move Ramatlhodi to the Department of Public Service and Administration has been met with mixed reaction by unions and business people alike.

The Business Day newspaper is reporting that some officials within the ANC are unhappy with Zwane's appointment due to his perceived links with the Gupta family.

The Mail and Guardian also reports that Zwane has been linked to at least two government scandals involving the Guptas.

But the most concerning issue raised by stakeholders in the mining industry is the experience, or lack thereof, Zwane brings to the portfolio.

His allies have praised him for work done with mining companies and the farming community in the Free State during his tenure as MEC.

The Chamber of Mines says it's eager to meet with the new minister to gauge his perception of the industry.

ZWANE TO REVEAL HIS MINING SECTOR STRATEGY SOON

The new mineral resources minister asked South Africans on Thursday to give him time to settle into his new position but promised to reveal his strategy in about a month's time.

South Africa is the world's largest platinum producer and Africa's largest gold exporter but the mineral resources department faces numerous challenges, including a looming wage strike in the mining sector, mining owners threatening to cut thousands of jobs and Eskom's power interruptions.

Zwane's appointment comes just weeks before the mining industry's operation Phakisa gets into gear, an initiative aimed at getting the troubled sector back into track.

He said he was ready and willing to carry out his tasks despite a cloud of uncertainty surrounding his portfolio.

"I'm sure that we'll all agree that you'll have to give me some chance to settle. And I'm sure that we'll meet in a month or so, where I'll be able then to say this is the direction, this is where we're going."

Zwane said he would not make any sudden changes in his new portfolio, but instead ensure that the work already introduced by his predecessor was completed successfully.

He said he plans to make South Africa proud.

"What I can say is that we'll not just come in and change willy-nilly. What has been there and it's good and we agree we'll move forward and ensure that we reach our destination right on time. Where we need to adjust, we'll definitely adjust without any hesitation."

Zwane said he believed he was the right man for the job and he was ready to face the challenges in his department.

He also said he had enough experience to handle the challenges.

"I've throughout my life been dealing with challenges. I've not rose to be where I'm mistakenly, I've walked through the ropes to be where I am."

The minister added he was honoured to have been entrusted with the new position.

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