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Charter battle is damaging

Feb 11 2018 06:21
Justin Brown

Cape Town - The battle between the state and the mining industry over the Mining Charter isn’t doing anyone any good, said mining entrepreneur Bridgette Radebe on the sidelines of the Mining Indaba in Cape Town this week.

“The credit rating is so low, the country doesn’t need drama. Let’s not let the courts decide our destiny. The courts will just be very factual. We say, let’s be factual, but let us also be businesspeople. Through unity, let’s solve the problem,” she said.

The Chamber of Mines’ case against the new Mining Charter will be heard in court later this month.

“The court case isn’t doing anything for your share price. If we have a discussion, I think we can get out of it. The response to this charter is that many black people are feeling that, hell, these people are taking us to court, so they are against transformation. This is what people on the ground are saying; rural communities, organised business in historically disadvantaged South Africa,” Radebe said.

“Look, it is probably a communication that has gone wrong. It is not that people don’t want transformation.”

When the first Mining Charter was put together, participants in the talks went away on a bosberaad.

“We sat around the table and we had talks for two days. Then we came back with a give and take plan. We wanted 51% – we settled for 26%. We wanted many things, but we settled,” she said.

The first charter was supposed to expire in 2014, but many of its targets were missed, Radebe said.

“Why has this not happened? Any other department should have imposed penalties. But he [Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane] was trying to allow the industry to come on board. He gave them an extension from 2014 to 2019.”

Radebe said that Zwane needed to be tougher.

On the topic of the once empowered, always empowered premise, which the Chamber of Mines advocates, Radebe said: “What once empowered, always empowered says is that if I have done one empowerment deal and I complied, then I can create many other mines without repeating those empowerment requirements because I have done it once. I’m saying it is wrong.”

it communicated via a letter to the ANC president shortly after his election as head of the party.

“It requested a meeting with Mr Ramaphosa at his convenience. The chamber has received an acknowledgment of the letter, but no meeting has yet been set,” a Chamber of Mines spokesperson said on Friday.

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