Anglo American has 'stolen' South Africa's money

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A senior member of the African National Congress has accused miner Anglo American of stealing South Africa's money

Miner Anglo American has “stolen” South Africa’s money, a senior member of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has claimed.

Gwede Mantashe, secretary-general of the ANC, said that South Africa needed to take “bigger interest and control” of its mines after Anglo American’s platinum unit, Amplats, launched a strategic review that could lead to 14,000 job losses.

“They have stolen our money,” Mr Mantashe said. “They are a British company now. They have a responsibility to talk to South Africa on the operations,” Bloomberg reported. Mr Mantashe is also chairperson of the South African Communist Party.

Amplats has struggled to make a profit and last week’s restructuring plan aimed to close high-cost mines, cutting around 7pc of group output. However, the move is dogged with political uncertainty as Anglo American (LSE: AAL.L - news) remains the largest private sector employer in a country where the unemployment rate stands at 25pc.

Susan Shabangu, South Africa’s mineral resources minister, said the government could revoke mining licenses owned by Anglo if it continued with its closure plans. The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has also said that it wanted the government to “reissue” mining permits that aren’t being used. “As long as this country is run by the foreigners, we are far from any solution,” Joseph Mathunjwa, AMCU president, said over the weekend.

Certain sections of the ANC have been calling for mine nationalisation for some time, with the former head of the ANC’s youth wing Julius Malema being the most vocal. Mr Malema was expelled from the ANC in March last year for “sowing divisions” in the party’s ranks. Ms Shabangu rejected calls for nationalisation in December, saying it would be harmful for South Africa. Instead, she is supporting increases in taxation on mining companies.