Mamphela Ramphele speaks at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town on February 6 2013. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Mamphela Ramphele speaks at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town on February 6 2013. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

ACADEMIC Mamphela Ramphele, who is rumoured to be starting a new political party soon, refined her political message at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Wednesday, implicitly criticising the African National Congress (ANC) for lashing out at mine retrenchments.

Ms Ramphele carved out a position somewhere between the ANC’s existing policy and that of industry, saying recent "noise" in the relationship between the industry and the government was "unnecessary".

She also criticised proposed changes to mining legislation which could restrict the sale of stakes in listed companies without permission. The attitude of "continually threatening" was "scary" for investors.

Ms Ramphele said there were issues, like housing and remuneration, that the government should be firm with, and asked why it would be necessary for the government to involve itself in sale of stakes in mining companies.

She had an upbeat message about the future of the industry, saying a new mindset was necessary and that "almost every challenge can be turned into an opportunity".

Ms Ramphele was warmly received at the conference, and when asked whether she was going to start a new political party, she quipped that miners should avoid short-term thinking. "Just wait patiently", she said.