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Chamber: Zwane tries to discredit mining transformation journey

Aug 19 2017 09:00

Cape Town – Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane is trying to undermine the mining sector’s credibility with regard to the progress it has made with transformation, the Chamber of Mines said.

The Chamber filed its replying affidavit in the North Gauteng High Court on Friday in response to Zwane’s answering affidavit submitted earlier this month.

The court documents pertain to the Chamber’s bid to interdict the implementation of the reviewed Mining Charter, gazetted on June 15 this year.

The interdict application will be heard on September 14 and 15.

In a statement issued late on Friday, the Chamber said it “notes” that Zwane’s response does not deal with the matter at hand. “That is the shortcomings of reviewed Charter. Instead, the Minister focused on trying to undermine the credibility of the industry’s transformation journey.

READ: Zwane defends Mining Charter as cornerstone of radical economic transformation 

The Chamber reiterated its commitment to real transformation, but pointed out that the “unilateral development and implementation” the reviewed Charter would not serve the interests of South Africa.

“[The Charter] is aimed at benefitting a select few, will destroy investment, lead to further job losses and will cause irreparable damage to the mining industry,” the statement read.

Points raised in Chamber’s affidavit

The Chamber said it addressed the following points in its replying affidavit:

- On consultation: The Chamber disputes the Department of Mineral Resources' (DMR) assertion of “extensive” or “vigorous consultation” preceding the publication of the 2017 Charter and argues it did not get an opportunity to negotiate and truly engage with the DMR on the Charter as was the case prior to the publication of the 2004 and 2010 Charters. The review application will seek to have the Reviewed Charter set aside as invalid and unlawful.

- The Charter is not law: The Chamber also disputes the DMR’s assertion that the Mining Charter is law. The fact that the Charter is enabled by the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) does not mean that it is a law on its own.

- 26%-ownership: In terms of ownership, the Chamber’s reply points out that at no stage during the negotiation of the first Mining Charter (which came into effect in 2004) was the concept of mining companies having to sustain black ownership at 26% discussed or agreed between the Chamber and the DMR. There was never any requirement for mining right holders to sustain the 26% level. The primary focus was to create access to ownership by a critical mass of historically disadvantaged South Africans that could become self-perpetuating.

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