Export of chromium ore from SA is an export of jobs – SACP
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Pretoria – As South Africa continues to suffer significant job losses amid the raging Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions on some businesses, the Communist Party of South Africa (SACP) has called the government to introduce policies restricting the export of raw materials, especially chromium ore, to save jobs.
The SaveSA Smelters pressure group has waged an intense campaign, warning of imminent job losses as smelters in South Africa continue to close due to the export of chrome ore. SaveSA Smelters urged the government to speed up the implementation of the notional tax on the export of raw ore, as it announced in October last year.
SACP national spokesperson Alex Mashilo said the idea of a tax on the export of raw materials from South Africa “makes sense.”
“We are not fighting any country. We say it is important to stimulate development in South Africa. We cannot sit down with this high unemployment rate. It is unbearable. We have a high poverty rate, so the idea of a tax on the export of ore makes sense. However, for this to work, it must be part of a comprehensive, high-impact industrial strategy of manufacturing, development and job creation, ”Mashilo said.
“At the moment, South Africa does not have this industrial strategy of manufacturing, development and job creation. The so-called industrial master plans of the country are not sufficiently supported in the economic framework.
Mashilo said that in the ruling tripartite alliance, incorporating the African National Congress, the SACP and the Cosatu Federation of Labor, there are resolutions on the enrichment of the country’s raw materials in South Africa.
“It is of crucial importance for South Africa to take advantage of this, to transform its raw materials in the country. It is important because it creates jobs. If you just dig and extract the raw materials, you export them without any added value, you even export the soil from which the raw material comes – you put South Africa at a disadvantage. You create jobs where the material will be processed, while South Africa has a high unemployment rate, ”Mashilo said.
“There are over 11 million South Africans who are unemployed. If you just extract the raw material and export it to overseas export destinations, where it will be valued / processed, you are undermining job creation in South Africa. How are we going to reduce unemployment if we do not take advantage of our mineral resources?
Last month, Lindelani Nyathikazi, head of SaveSA Smelters, said the proposed introduction of an export tax on chromium ore would help revive the struggling industry which some sources say employs around 68,000. people.
In October last year, the Cabinet announced that it was considering collecting the export tax as part of a series of measures to support domestic ferrochrome production and its sector of the country’s value chain. chromium.
Nyathikazi said some people who opposed the chrome ore tax clearly supported the “plunder” of the country’s mineral resources without benefiting local communities.
He reiterated that his organization would not allow the country’s minerals to leave the country without benefiting citizens, and called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to keep the Cabinet promise to protect the sector by imposing the tax with immediate effect.
“Eight months later (since October), there is still no announcement. We want to reposition our country as the destination of choice for investors in the steel and stainless steel value chain.
“Before, we were very big in steel sourcing. We had a lot of factories, and now we have lost a lot as companies choose to export the raw ore and profit from it outside the country, ”Nyathikazi said.
He added that when mining companies were forced to pay the export tax on raw ore, then they would consider enrichment and value-added processes in South Africa and in turn create much needed jobs.
Some analysts have suggested that the introduction of the export tax on chromium and chromium ore would lead to the repositioning of South Africa as a world leader in ferrochrome production due to product enrichment. local, as opposed to the current position of widely exporting raw materials.
African News Agency (ANA)