THE African National Congress (ANC) has ditched the concept of "strategic nationalisation" in favour of "strategic state ownership where deemed appropriate", has softened its interventionist approach to the economy and has promised policy certainty for the next five years.
There will, however, be a new tax regime for the mining industry with the prospect of export taxes on strategic minerals, should producers not agree to co-operate with the government’s developmental aims, particularly in their pricing.
Briefing the press at its national conference in Mangaung, the ANC said it wanted to assure investors that "nationalisation is off the table".
Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said: "The national conference has refused to be drawn into the (use of) the word ‘nationalisation’, reaffirming the old stance of the ANC (for a mixed economy). This means that the issue of nationalisation we have discussed over the past few months is off the table."
Mr Gigaba said the new stance of "strategic state ownership where deemed necessary and on the balance of evidence" meant there might come a time when a particular sector might need to be nationalised, such as had occurred in the UK when the government took ownership of banks.
"We are providing final clarity. There shouldn’t be any expectation that from here we will come out and say we are going to nationalise," he said.
However, the ANC remains determined that the state should "capture an equitable share of mineral resource rents and deploy them in the interests of long-term economic growth, development and transformation".
Chairman of the economic transformation committee Enoch Godongwana said this could take the form of either a resource rent tax or a windfall tax on super-profits.
Mr Godongwana also said export taxes on "strategic minerals" — that is, those deemed important for industrialisation — could be used "as a stick" if industry did not heed the government’s appeals to behave in a way that would promote the beneficiation of raw materials and local manufacturing.