Court lets groups have a say on char­ter

Business Day - - COMPANIES - Al­lan Sec­combe

The Cham­ber of Mines suf­fered a set­back in its ef­forts to re­view and set aside the third it­er­a­tion of the Min­ing Char­ter af­ter it failed to block three com­mu­nity and en­vi­ron­men­tal groups from join­ing its court bat­tle against Min­eral Re­sources Mosebenzi Zwane and the Depart­ment of Min­eral Re­sources.

The High Court in Pre­to­ria ruled in favour of Min­ing Af­fected Com­mu­ni­ties United in Ac­tion, Women Af­fected by Min­ing United in Ac­tion and the Min­ing and En­vi­ron­men­tal Jus­tice Net­work SA to in­ter­vene in the De­cem­ber 13 and 14 re­view.

“The min­is­ter of min­eral re­sources made it clear that com­mu­nity net­works were wel­come to join the re­view pro­vided that they were able to keep to the agreed time­frames. The Cham­ber of Mines made it equally clear that they op­posed the com­mu­ni­ties’ in­ter­ven­tion,” the three groups said.

The cham­ber was con­cerned that the two days set aside to hear the com­plex ar­gu­ments would be eroded by the ad­di­tion of the com­mu­nity groups.

It said the Cen­tre for Ap­plied Le­gal Stud­ies and Lawyers for Hu­man Rights, rep­re­sent­ing the three groups, had filed their pa­pers “at a very late stage”.

The cham­ber said the main rea­son for its op­po­si­tion to the par­ties’ ap­pli­ca­tion to in­ter­vene as co-ap­pli­cants was that their grounds for re­view “are ma­te­ri­ally dif­fer­ent from those of the cham­ber”.

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