Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

South Africa Senior Mines Official Quits as Sector Struggles

  • Mineral Resources Director-General Ramontja to leave January
  • Ramontja resigns three months after change of minister

The most senior public servant in South Africa’s mineral resource department, Thibedi Ramontja, has resigned, becoming the second high-ranking government mining official to leave since September.

Ramontja, who was in the job for four years, is quitting for personal reasons and his last day will be at end of January. An acting replacement will be announced at a later date, the department said in a statement on its website on Tuesday.

Three months ago, President Jacob Zuma appointed Mosebenzi Zwane as the mines minister, sparking criticism because he previously served as a provincial official and had no experience in the industry or national politics. Zwane replaced Ngoako Ramatlhodi, who served in the position since May last year.

South Africa, the world’s largest platinum producer, is set to lose thousands of mining jobs as companies from Anglo American Plc to Glencore Plc reduce costs and close mines after a slump in commodity prices. Mining shrank 9.8 percent in the third quarter on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis, compared with a quarter earlier.

Zuma’s government is under investor scrutiny after the abrupt dismissal of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene on Dec. 9 roiled markets. He initially gave the job to David van Rooyen, a little known lawmaker, then rolled back on the decision four days later, appointing Pravin Gordhan, who served as finance minister from 2009 to 2014.

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