People will be heard on mine charter
THE Wits Centre for Applied Legal Studies (Cals) and Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) were yesterday, in a judgment handed down by the high court, granted leave to become co-applicants in the Chamber of Mines’ application for a review of the Department of Mineral Resources’ (DMR) reviewed mining charter published in June.
Cals said previously that the charter had been written without input from the thousands of people most affected by mining, hence the application to be party to the matter.
There was also lack of clarity in the charter, Cals said, adding that most mining communities had not heard of the mining charter.
The high court ordered all parties to “strictly adhere to the time lines” previously laid down by the deputy judge president of the Gauteng High Court for the serving and filing of pleadings and heads of argument. The Chamber of Mines said it was studying the mining minister’s answering affidavit, which was served and filed last Friday.
The chamber’s replying affidavit must be filed and served on November 22, the chamber said yesterday. The dates for the hearing of the chamber’s review application by a full bench of the high court remain December 13 and 14.
Cals will be seeking to have mining communities elevated to the status of stakeholders and the DMR will have to consult with them alongside other stakeholders.
Cals and LHR are acting on behalf of three community organisations – Mining Affected Communities United in Action, Women Affected by Mining United in Action, and the Mining and Environmental Justice Network of South Africa.
The chamber originally opposed the applications because their grounds for review of the charter were different from those of the chamber and time was a concern as only two days were set down for arguments on highly technical matters.
However, the chamber said yesterday it “noted the judgment handed down today by the high court and respects the outcome”, it said. – 701068
TRANSFORMATION: Stakeholders in the mining sector are crossing swords over the extent of input into the revised mining charter.