South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma “has to go,” with poor governance deterring prospective investors, according to the head of Sibanye Gold, the biggest producer of South African bullion.
“Any solid investor, any solid company is founded on good governance and what we have in South Africa at the moment is very poor governance, from a government point of view,” Sibanye Chief Executive Officer Neal Froneman said in an interview from the Denver Gold Forum in Colorado Springs.
He joins Sipho Pityana, chairman of AngloGold Ashantiand a prominent African National Congress member, in calling for Zuma to step down. Pityana last week said Zuma had “no integrity” and his actions are putting South Africa at risk of a credit-rating downgrade to junk.
Read also ; I will Mobilise Public if Zuma fails to step down – Sipho Pityana.
Zuma, 74, has spooked investors this year by sparring with his Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan for control of the Treasury, tax collection agency and state companies while in March the nation’s top court said the president violated the constitution for refusing to repay taxpayer money spent on his private home.
On September 16, President Zuma urged politicians and business executives to “refrain from making public utterances that promote a negative narrative about the country,” while asking companies and government to work together to boost the economy. Officials from the Treasury, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Old Mutual and Standard Bank Group will meet with investors in the US on October 4 and 5 in a bid to shore up investor confidence.
Read also ; President Zuma urges SA not to badmouth the country.
“The one thing we can say about South Africa at the moment is we’ve got a very good legal system,” Froneman said when asked about the risk of retribution by authorities. “We can rely on it, in terms of companies. If there is any retribution, we’ll deal with it.”
The Bloomberg Intelligence Global Senior Gold Valuation Peers Index surged more than 150 percent this year through early August, before investors began pocketing gains, triggering a 20% retreat. Sibanye and fellow South African miner Harmony Gold Mining Co. are the cheapest stocks in the index, trading at 7.2 and 8.2 times estimated earnings, respectively, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The index trades at an average ratio of 21.
Froneman said gold’s recent pullback to about $1 314 an ounce is creating a buying opportunity, with prices set to trade in a range of $1 400 to $1 500. He expects a “double whammy” boost from strong gold prices and a weak rand, which has weakened 4.8% against the dollar over the past year.