Cham­ber, ANC meet over char­ter

Court action a ‘last re­sort’

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Di­neo Faku

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.

Re­voke li­cences

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.

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