Chamber, ANC meet over charter
Court action a ‘last resort’
CHAMBER of Mines office bearers yesterday met an ANC delegation led by secretary-general Gwede Mantashe on how the Broad-based Black Socio-economic Empowerment Charter for the South African Mining and Minerals Industry would affect the struggling industry, which has shed 75 000 jobs over the past five years.
The Chamber said in a statement that it had informed the delegation that the consultation process leading up to the charter and the content of the charter were flawed.
It had also advised the delegation of the court action that the Chamber was preparing to launch.
The Chamber said it had pointed out that it regarded taking legal action against the government as a last resort , Roger Baxter, the Chamber’s chief executive, said.
“We need to continue on the industry’s transformation journey that has been going on in earnest since the original charter came into effect more than 13 years ago. But it needs to be based on workable targets and guidelines that enable an effective transformation process proceeding in a competitive and growing industry. As we have previously indicated, the Department of Mineral Resources’s charter fails in this respect.”
The Chamber, which represents 90 percent of employers in the mining industry, is in the process of drafting an application for an interdict to prevent the implementation of the Reviewed Mining Charter and an application to have the charter reviewed in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, it said earlier yesterday.
It had also asked the High Court to re-enroll its application for a declaratory order in respect of the “once empowered, always empowered” issues that was placed on hold last year following an agreement between the Chamber and the Department of Mineral Resources.
“We think that these very onerous requirements are costly enough to limit investment into new projects in South Africa,” Adrian Hammond, an analyst at Standard Bank, said in a note.
However, the South African Mining Development Association (Samda), an industry body that represents black investors, said the Revised Mining Charter was a step in the right direction.
Peter Temane, the chairperon of Samda, said yesterday the government needed better enforcement measures and should revoke the licences of companies that did not comply with the charter.
“Since it (the mining charter) has been signed into law, it must be enforced. Let government apply the use it or lose it principle for any company that does not comply. Licences should be revoked so that companies comply with the charter,” Temane said.
Temane said Samda had hoped for a 50-percent black-ownership threshold for new mining rights.
“Black South Africans make up 90 percent of the population, but they were excluded from participating in mining, owing to apartheid. This needs to be addressed,” he said.
Among other things, the charter plans to establish a Mining Transformation and Development Agency, to administer the community interest of 8 percent and as 2 percent of skills development spend.