Zuma commits to study of mining tax
Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma firmly committed the government to reviewing mining tax policy on Thursday.
Delivering his state-of-the-nation address, Zuma said he believed the government had succeeded in bringing about certainty in the mining sector where policy was concerned.
He said the mining royalty scheme would be part of a study of current tax policies to be commissioned by the Treasury.
"From time to time, we have commissioned studies into our tax policies, to evaluate the extent to which they meet the requirements of the fiscus," said Zuma.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan would commission the study to ensure the country had "an appropriate revenue base to support public spending".
"Part of this study will evaluate the current mining royalties regime, with regard to its ability to suitably serve our people," said Zuma.
His comments appeared to contradict those of Gordhan at the January World Economic Forum meeting in Switzerland.
At the time, Gordhan said there were no immediate plans to increase mining taxes.
On Thursday, Zuma reiterated that the nationalisation of mines was off the table, following discussions at the African National Congress's Mangaung conference last year.
He said the government was working with labour and business to try and address the problems highlighted by a series of wildcat strikes at mines across the country last year.
"In particular, we agreed to work together to strengthen collective bargaining; to address the housing problems in the mining towns; to support the National Infrastructure Programme; to address youth unemployment; and to identify measures to reduce inequalities."
Zuma touched on tensions between the state and Anglo American Platinum over the planned retrenchment of thousands of workers.
"Two weeks ago, I had a meeting in Pretoria with Sir John Parker, the chairman of Anglo American Plc to discuss the reported plans to restructure and retrench 14,000 workers at Anglo American Platinum."
That meeting came after Zuma equated the announcement of plans to close mines and lay off workers with "blackmail". - Sapa