Gwede Mantashe Photo: African News Agency/ANA

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's chamber of mines said on Tuesday newly appointed minister of mineral resources Gwede Mantashe would bring with him a sound and fundamental knowledge of the industry.

President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed Mantashe, who is chairman of the ruling ANC party, to the post in a Cabinet reshuffle announced on Monday night.

"He (Mantashe) is a person with whom our industry has long held a constructive and respectful relationship," the chamber said.

"He is an extremely tough negotiator, demonstrated both during his time as general secretary of the NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) and in his subsequent political positions. We look forward to the many engagements with him that doubtless lie ahead."

Mantashe replaced Mosebenzi Zwane, who had clashed with the chamber over policy, including a controversial mining charter introduced last year which it said would hurt the sector and had been imposed without adequate consultation.

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The chamber, which represents mining companies, said the "swift and decisive action" taken by the president in a number of critical areas in the reshuffle, especially in the economic cluster, was a clear demonstration of his commitment to ethical leadership and governance in state institutions.

Ramaphosa, recently sworn in as South Africa's leader, brought back Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister, more than two years after he was sacked by former president Jacob Zuma in a move that rattled financial markets. Ramaphosa also appointed Pravin Gordhan as public enterprises minister, about a year after he was also controversially removed as finance minister by Zuma.

"(Ramaphosa's) continued emphasis on good governance and growing the economy are vital for the country," the mining body said.

"The chamber looks forward to the president’s further announcements on a more streamlined and efficient cabinet that matches the growth and transformation strategy of government, but within the constraints of what the economy and fiscus can afford."

Africa News Agency/ANA