South Africa is again in a state of change.  The second ANC president, Mbeki has resigned opening the way for his bitter rival Jacob Zuma to take over.  The question that concerns mining people is:  what will a Zuma government mean for mining?

We know little of Zuma other than he seems to have a colorful career including many liaisons, wives, and a strange perspective on AIDS.  He is supported by the trade unions and has talked communist policies in the past.  He has muttered words not necessarily reassuring to the whites and their remaining power and privilege. 

A South African visiting me just now says that Zuma is no friend of Mugabe and will kick that Zimbabwe potentate out a lot faster than Mbeki has been inclined to do. 

Thus maybe we can be optimistic that Zuma will be good for southern African mining.  All it will take is to keep the South African economy moving, get Zimbabwe resuscitated, keep the power on in both countries, improve safety records in the mines, and keep the unions honest to their proper mandate. 

Sadly, many of Zuma's supporters have called for nationalization of the mines.  If they gain an ascendency in the new regime, we fear for the southern mining industry and the promises and prosperity that could yield.  For now, I refrain from increasing portfolio holdings in South African mining shares.