The executive mayor of the City of Ekurhuleni and ANC Ekurhuleni regional chairperson Mzwandile Masina has proposed the closure of Durban Harbour to stop minerals from leaving the country.
Masina said on Twitter: “To get our full independence from Western Imperialists we must close down the Durban Harbour so that no minerals leave this country.”
“In that way, international manufacturing will descend to SA since we hold 90% of platinum, which the Works [world] so need.”
This statement was met with criticism by many commentators who highlighted that this would seriously damage the economy.
Economist Mike Schüssler told the Sowetan such a decision will devastate the platinum and gold mining industry and lead to job losses in these sectors.
He added that South Africa does not have the electricity or the infrastructure to support the processing and beneficiation of raw materials.
Facts about South Africa’s mineral exports
While it is commendable that local politicians want to increase manufacturing in South Africa, Masina’s comments are misguided.
According to Masina, preventing mineral exports will help South Africa to gain independence from “Western Imperialists”.
The World Bank, however, shows that South Africa mainly exports minerals to China, India, and Japan.
The idea that platinum is in strong demand is also inaccurate. Platinum’s main use is in the manufacture of catalytic converters for diesel cars.
The idea that the world is therefore desperate for South African minerals, especially platinum, is a poor foundation for making economic decisions.
The plan to close a harbour is even more ridiculous, as it will put a serious dent in the country’s ability to trade with other nations.