* Mines also faced with proposed windfall tax
* "Small amount" of minerals should be sold in S.Africa
* Union boss attacks new ANC leadership figure Ramaphosa
(Adds platinum, iron ore plan details, quotes)
By Jon Herskovitz and Peroshni Govender
BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa, Dec 19 South Africa
wants to impose export curbs on minerals such as platinum and
iron ore as part of a drive by the ruling African National
Congress to create more jobs in industry in the continent's
biggest economy, a top official said on Wednesday.
The policy proposals from the Trade and Industry Ministry
are meant to encourage more processing of minerals domestically
but are unlikely to go down well with mining companies already
being threatened with windfall taxes on their profits.
Speaking on the sidelines of an ANC conference in the
central city of Bloemfontein, ministry director-general Lionel
October said firms would only be required to set aside "small
amounts" for sale locally at an unspecified discount.
"Our competitive advantage is access to the raw materials.
That is why we must give access to the raw materials at
developmental prices," he told Reuters. He did not elaborate on
the definition of "small".
At the conference, which re-elected President Jacob Zuma as
party chief, the ANC has tried to strike a pro-business tone to
counter a clamour for radical policy shifts from the millions of
South African blacks who have seen little improvement in their
lives since the end of apartheid in 1994.
The 100-year-old liberation movement rejected wholesale
nationalisation of the mines - championed by expelled ANC Youth
League leader Julius Malema - but endorsed a "resource rent" tax
that amounts to a windfall levy on mining firms.
"The state must capture an equitable share of mineral
resource rents and deploy them in the interests of long-term
economic growth, development and transformation," an ANC policy
document seen by Reuters said.
It said the government should consider export taxes on
"strategic" minerals, reflecting the ANC's wish to expand the
domestic factory sector to tackle the 25 percent unemployment
rate that poses arguably the biggest threat to its 18-year grip
on power. The party has faced increased popular protests against
its failure to reduce poverty, deliver services and create jobs.
The ANC has talked for years about getting more value out of
South Africa's vast mineral wealth, without much action.
This led some analysts to downplay the impact of the policy
document but they said it sent a worrying message to investors.
"It looks like a very autarchic approach to the economy
rather than an open one. It is interventionist... and it is not
going to encourage investment," said Peter Leon, a mining expert
at Johannesburg law firm Webber Wentzel.
UNIONS VS. RAMAPHOSA?
At the conference, the ANC also picked millionaire
businessman Cyril Ramaphosa as Zuma's deputy, a choice seen as
favourable to investment and the economy, particularly if
Ramaphosa can push through plans to boost long-term growth.
Despite Ramaphosa's background as an anti-apartheid
mineworkers' leader, his business image will serve as a
counterweight to the unions that have seen their influence grow
during the 70-year-old Zuma's 3-1/2 years in office.
Zwelinzima Vavi, head of the powerful COSATU trade union
federation, went on the offensive on Wednesday by reminding
South Africans that 'Cyril' - as Ramaphosa is widely known - is
no longer a champion of the poor and downtrodden.
"He is now a multi-millionaire reflected by the empire that
he has created over the few years he has been in business," he
told Talk Radio 702.
"It is always the material conditions of men that influence
their conscience. That is where we would be a little bit
Ramaphosa came in for strong criticism after he was shown to
have lobbied the government in mid-August to act against
thousands of strikers at Lonmin's Marikana
platinum mine, in which he has a large personal stake.
The next day, 34 miners were shot dead by police in the
bloodiest security incident since apartheid.
In another sign of possible tensions to come, the ANC also
said the central bank should stick with inflation-targeting,
squashing calls from unions and its Communist Party allies to
switch the bank's mandate to include jobs and growth.
Ramaphosa, who was tipped as a possible successor to Mandela
in the 1990s before turning his attention to business, has an
estimated fortune of $675 million and sits on the boards of some
of Africa's biggest companies.
In a statement issued via his Shanduka investment company,
he said he would review his extensive business ties in the wake
of his appointment as ANC deputy to ensure no conflict of
(Additional reporting by Sherilee Lakmidas in Johannesburg;
Writing by Ed Cropley; Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Janet