SA mines minister, Gwede Mantashe, claims Sibanye-Stillwater “reckless” with BEE compliance

SA mines minister, Gwede Mantashe

SIBANYE-Stillwater had fallen foul of the South African government’s empowerment legislation and was not compliant, said Gwede Mantashe, the country’s mines and energy minister.

Speaking at the Junior Indaba, an online mining conference, Mantashe said that Sibanye-Stillwater had “stolen” the empowerment points awarded to Gold Fields from having completed an empowerment transaction in 2009. This was the deal in which Gold Fields sold a 15% stake in its South African gold mines to Mvelaphanda Resources, then owned by Tokyo Sexwale, a black industrialist.

Gold Fields subsequently de-merged its South African gold mines to form Sibanye Gold, the forerunner of the gold and platinum group metals producer, Sibanye-Stillwater. Mantashe said Sibanye-Stillwater had been “reckless” in claiming the empowerment from the transaction.

James Wellsted, spokesman for Sibanye-Stillwater, said the matter appeared to have come up because his company had applied to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy for a new order mining right for its Beatrix mine, one of the former Gold Fields operations. “We have taken legal advice, we are quite sure of our position,” he said. Beatrix had about six to eight years left of mining provided the mining right was granted.

Wellsted argued that Gold Fields had placed its mines into a subsidiary company through which the transaction with Mvelaphanda Resources had been conducted. The empowerment, therefore, resides within the subsidiary company which is the basis for Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold assets.

Nonetheless, the emergence of the dispute demonstrates that the South African government’s decision in August last year to drop a Supreme Court appeal in respect of the principle of ‘once-empowered, always-empowered’ may be a false dawn.

At the time, the Minerals Council South Africa said the decision to drop the appeal – in which Government contended mining firms had to re-empower themselves in the event of a new mining right licence renewal – was evidence of reform.

Attorneys at the time, however, warned that Government had dropped the court appeal only as it related to the 2010 Mining Charter, and in order to contest it in terms of the 2018 iteration of the charter.

Said Mantashe today: “There must be recognition of the creation of black capitalists, but if there is no meaning we will go the full distance,” he said, referring to potential further court action. “We think Sibanye has been reckless in handling a serious issue,” said Mantashe. “That 15% shareholding is abnormal. We are ready to speak to them.”


  1. These mining companies only benefits the cronies and friends of the governing party and not the people who were supposed to benefit, the workers. A truly sad state of affairs.

  2. Since when have these mining charters and agreements been benefiting or uplifting vulnerable communities, it have benefited the black elite yes and that’s about all.

  3. Would have thought the mining groups allocating shares to the workers as they do to the CEO would achieve two objectives in one go. It would make the workers more productive while at the same time the mines become more than BEE compliant. This country has enough ” industrialists ” skimming the cream off workers sweat for zero input of their own except their skin colour . All it’s done is turn this country into a greed filled quagmire of festering corruption and recivisdic lunatics hell bent on breaking things that work.

  4. To force BBBEE on Investors is not productive and only benefit black elite . Black entrepreneurs do not need whites to reach their goals. Competition can only benefit the country’s economy

  5. I think your president benefited a billion Rand or so too much while the workers have suffered….

  6. I think you should visit sibanye operations ask the employees see who occupies particular positions and even their qualifications there off it’s not a claim it is true

  7. The must seriously put the interest of the suffering community into their hearts, particularly those staying closer to a particular mine. Those close friends to the decision makers who don’t have sympathy in their minds.

  8. Need to see the facts.
    Perhaps Froneman can share an organogram showing the goldfields rights and then how those rights came to Sibanye. If I understand correctly Sibanye was merely created through a namechange. Goldfields SA to sibanye. If the BEE deal mentioned was limited to South Deep then Sibanye cannot claim credits. If the deal was on group level then surely can they claim credits. It might also be that this is not relevant to Gold Fields but rather relevant to Wits Gold. As I understand the BEE partner exited during business rescue. There are thus no BEE there and the question may be asked if there ever was meaningfull empowerment.
    The name of the game should be transparency. Give us the info to make informed decisions.

    • The way it was told to me – a subsidiary company holding Dries, Kloof and Beatrix, and which was the basis for Sibanye Gold, had the BEE credits. That’s what Sibanye-Stillwater is arguing.


  9. What are you saying about the closed mining companies, that are alleging that Eskom is the contributing factor. More especially smelters.

  10. It would make for interesting reading to see how successful pvt sector black companies are doing, if only to discredit the rumour that black capital obtained through BEE deals simply stagnates.

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