South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has replaced the minerals minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi, a man accredited as having worked hard to bring normalcy in the troubled mining industry.
The move to replace Ramatlhodi with the less known Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane, a former official of the Free State provincial government in the departments ranging from economics to agriculture, has taken the nation by surprise and received with mixed reactions from the unions to the captains of the mining industry.
Ramatlhodi was appointed by President Zuma in May 2014 during a five-month strike that halted most operations of the world’s three largest producers, managing to bring all the stakeholders to the table including AMCU, thus gaining the much needed trust by the country across the political divide.
Mining in South Africa accounts for more than half of the country’s exports and employs about 440 000 people, a critical source of jobs in a nation with approximately 25% unemployment.
In the recent months amid planned layoffs by miners, former minister Ramatlhodi had managed to bring the industry together in order to come-up with solutions that can save thousands of jobs.
One can only wish him well in his new assignment and also welcoming the new minister Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane to his new position and hoping that he will settle in quickly in order face the challenges and opportunities facing the industry.