Striking miners at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, North West, earlier this week. Picture: THE TIMES
Striking miners at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, North West, in August last year. Picture: THE TIMES

CONTINUING union-related violence in South Africa’s platinum sector highlights structural issues afflicting the country that "we’ve always been concerned about", Konrad Reuss, South Africa MD of rating agency Standard & Poor’s, said on Thursday.

The agency revised South Africa’s sovereign outlook to negative earlier in the year, and Mr Reuss said the rating should be "resolved" within the next two years as he needed more guidance over the next 12-15 months.

But, he said issues such as the e-toll debacle currently before the courts, nationalisation talk ahead of the African National Congress’s elective conference in December, and bloody union clashes at Lonmin’s Marikana mine negatively affected market perceptions.

"The external perception of South Africa is definitely not healthy," he said. "There is no near-term resolution to the outlook statement."

The external environment, weaker fiscal parameters, and debt "going in the wrong direction" remained concerns, Mr Reuss said.

He added: "In the South African context, it does not hinge on something specific."