THE Chamber of Mines yesterday said despite the five-year suspension of African National Congress (ANC) Youth League president Julius Malema, its obligation to the league still stands.
"However, we regret that the interaction between the league and its mother body (the ANC) has led to his suspension," chamber CEO Bheki Sibiya said yesterday.
Mr Malema has sought to rally support for nationalisation of mines and the expropriation of land without compensation, citing high levels of poverty and unemployment.
On Wednesday Moody’s rating agency lowered its outlook on SA’s sovereign credit rating to negative from stable, stating that populist pressure and internal strains within the ANC could undermine official commitment to low budget deficits and debt targets.
Last month Mr Sibiya accepted a memorandum during a march by the youth league and told reporters the chamber would consider the league’s grievances.
"The ANC Youth League will live and outlive Julius Malema, so the obligations we have with the league still remain unchanged," said Mr Sibiya yesterday.
The South African Institute of Race Relations said: "It would be a mistake (to) interpret Mr Malema’s suspension as the end of political radicalism within the country."
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it would be difficult to say whether the nationalisation debate would now take a different approach or another leader would "take up Mr Malema’s cause".
"He may be sanctioned, but he could continue on some individual platform. It is too early to tell," CEO Neren Rau said.
Nick Holland, CEO of Gold Fields , said: "Nationalisation was not a serious threat for SA but the significant gap between the haves and the have-nots and the youth. If we don’t improve the lot of the youth, then the country will have a problem in the next five to 10 years," he said.
Mr Sibiya said the Chamber of Mines welcomed Mr Malema’s intended appeal.