South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has closed its five-day leadership conference in Bloemfontein, retaining President Jacob Zuma as its leader and rejecting mine nationalisation.
A resolution passed by members on Thursday rejected proposals to nationalise the economically vital mines, effectively killing a rancorous debate on the subject.
“The issue of nationalisation as we have discussed it over the last few months is off the table,” Malusi Gigaba, the minister for public enterprises, said while announcing the decision.
The move is a major defeat for the party’s governing left, and caps a concerted effort by leadership to firm up its pro-business credentials.
At a policy meeting in June the ANC had backed “strategic nationalisation”.
Opening the conference on Sunday, Zuma, who was re-elected as ANC leader with an overwhelming majority, was at pains to stress the government backed a “mixed economy”.
Addressing investors, Zuma said he wanted to “dismiss the perceptions that our country is falling apart”.
Zuma also backed businessman Cyril Ramaphosa as his deputy president.
The party hinted at a higher burden on mining companies, saying the state must capture “an equitable share of mineral resources through the tax system”, but stopped short of demanding a new mining tax.