Julius Malema has called for the nationalization of South Africa’s mines. I have warned investors to stay away from South African mines as long as Malema and his ilk are rampant. A new report on Malema and those who seek to gain control of first world mining operations also reveals much about the motivations of those who oppose mining.
The most vocal proponent of the nationalisation of South Africa’s mines, the leader of the ruling party’s youth wing, Julius Malema, is linked to a R250m mining deal that involves politically connected individuals at the expense of impoverished communities, the country’s Sunday Times reported. The company at the heart of the deal is ASA Metals, which is 60% owned by Sinosteel subsidiary Eastern Asia Metals Investment Co Ltd from China, with the rest held by Limpopo Economic Development Enterprise (Limdev) of South Africa. ASA Metals owns a chromite mine and smelter near Steelpoort on the platinum-rich Eastern Bushveld Igneous Complex. The Sunday Times said it had information showing those involved in the deal include soccer boss Irvin Khoza and Kgomotso Motlanthe, the son of deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe. Malema was also a founding director in a consortium that was registered for the bid, shortly after discussions about the broad-based black economic empowerment (BEE) deal started in 2006. He was later forced out, the Sunday Times said. But the Sunday Times said it understood he had since held several informal meetings with those involved in putting the deal together.
This report and others are confusing. It is not clear what role Julius Malema plays or what profits he stand to gain. Clearly the reports are put out by Malema’s opponents; they seek to paint a picture of a venial, greedy, dishonest, and self-motivated young communist-for-pay.
Regardless of how venial Malema truly is, it is clear that Zuma and those in power in South Africa are powerless to control him or stem his vitriolic calls for dispossession of the mines from their shareholders. Why invest in such a tenuous & volatile situation?
The other part of the story is the lengths to which people will go in dishonesty in opposing mining for their own selfish or illogical reasons. I have know many and read a great deal about those who oppose mining. Here are some word sketches of the variety of mining opponents:
The Rich Spurned Wife: She has all the possessions the spouse of a husband who is successful in the mining industry would wish for. Sadly, the husband spent his mining-gained money on both his family and a long-time (fifteen years) mistress—who also, incidently was cheating on her husband, a successful consultant to the mining industry. Is it any wonder the spurned wife took her distress and anger out on the mining industry, blaming the industry for evils that in truth resided in her unfaithful husband.
The Pedeophilic Priest. Almost a caricature these days, we sadly have in mind instances of the defrocked, then refrocked priest (that is the Catholic Church for the faithful) who is now in the thrall of those who, for other reasons, seek to limit mining along their drug trade routes.
The Professional Reporter. This ill-educated person picks up a lead, is too lazy or stupid to investigate the whole story, and then writes and gets published a “scandalous exposure” of mining malfeasance. The report is dripping with half-truths, innuendo, and profound statements by local discontents.
Ambitious Politicians: There are a slew of them in Canada right now promoting passage of Bill C-300. They claim all evils in badly-governed third-world countries are the fault of Canadian gas, oil, and mining companies and they seek to establish a new Star Chamber to judge in a most unlegal fashion those who are accused by anybody, anywhere, of anything that perturbs them.
The Camera Queen: Today at a link I have lost, I watched a nice lady claim “That young girl has two bald spots on her head. We never saw that before the mine came. We do not drink their water for we are too far from the mine. So it must be air-borne contamination that is causing the problem.” She clearly enjoyed the chance to talk into the camera and the reporter clearly enjoyed focussing on her–she was picturesque albeit grossly ignorant.
The Incompetent Engineer. I once had a boss who warned me never to employ an engineer who changed jobs every two years. The boss said it took that long to fully establish their incompetence and to fire them — or gently move them on. These two-year-a-job engineers lend their incompetence to accusations against the mining industry. They should be hauled before the professional engineering body that licenses them and they should be banished to the outer shades of Hades.
The Sexually Frustrated. To illustrate this person, we return to Malema and this report–be warned it is graphic and offensive:
A controversial South African youth leader has been convicted of “hate speech” for claiming that a woman who four years ago accused the future President, Jacob Zuma, of rape had “a nice time”. The African National Congress Youth League said it would appeal against the Johannesburg Equality Court’s order for Julius Malema, 29, to make an unconditional apology and pay 50,000 rand (£4,500) to a centre for abused women. Mr Malema made the comment to a rally during Mr Zuma’s campaign for the presidency last year. Mr Zuma was cleared in the rape case and the woman who accused him was granted political asylum in the Netherlands. In her judgment, the magistrate Colleen Collins said Mr Malema, who did not attend yesterday’s hearing, had admitted saying: “When a woman didn’t enjoy it, she leaves early in the morning. Those who had a nice time will wait until the sun comes out, request breakfast and ask for taxi money.”
I know these ad hominem accusations and stories are not necessarily representative of anti-mining activists as a class. But I do wish I could get to know a truly intelligent, truly balance, and self-motivated individual who opposes mining so that I could write about honesty, goodness, and objective commitment to a cause. If you know of just one such person, let me know, and I promise to write about them at length.