Mining Charter: DMR says it ‘anticipated’ industry’s reaction

Government has a responsibility to legislate and that was the intention with which the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) released a new draft Mining Charter at the end of last week, said Mines Minister Mosebenzi Zwane.

Briefing the media ahead of his budget speech in Parliament today, Zwane had to field questions from journalists about the unexpected publishing of the Charter last Friday.

In the draft document the DMR makes it clear that it does not acknowledge the once-empowered-always-empowered concept, notwithstanding the Chamber of Mines’ court bid to secure a declaratory order to this effect.

“The Chamber of Mines’ court process does not preclude us from doing our job to legislate,” Zwane responded to a question about the reason for Friday’s surprise move. “During the Mining Indaba we gave you timeframes and we said by April a new Mining Charter would be published. We are systematic in terms of what we have planned.”

In the new document government makes it clear that mining companies are supposed to perpetually seek black economic partners even if their previous partners sold their 26%-share. That means if a company’s BEE partners have exited the company has three years to align its empowerment credentials to the stipulations in the draft Charter.

At the media briefing Zwane repeatedly said that the draft Charter “was open for discussion”. “We will soon have a two-day session in which we’ll engage further. We believe we can sit around the table and deal with the differences and move forward.”

He hinted though that “this was not the end” of the road with regard to black economic empowerment. “This is what we currently can afford. But we believe our people have the right to have more say in the mining sector in South Africa.”

Zwane added that government expected “the reaction” from the mining sector after the release of the draft. “We published the Charter so that people would react and we would know where we stand. We’re awaiting more reaction [from the industry].”

Asked about the whereabouts of the long-awaited Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) Amendment Bill, Zwane said the Bill is currently before the House of Traditional Leaders, as this grouping was excluded from the previous consultation process.

“The Traditional Leaders gave us the assurance that the Bill would be taken forward. We can’t say in which quarter, but the Bill will be enacted in this financial year.” Zwane said.

5 COMMENTS

  1. So white people are not classed as “our people”? That is really interesting to hear, honorable minister…

  2. True. The primary function of Government is to legislate. However, it must also learn to ligislate with wisdom and to learn to distinguish between legislating and interfering. It is not wise to make a law if you cannot administer it. Be wise – don’t make stupid laws.

  3. The mining companies thought they would be absolved accountability when they allocated the 26% BEE empowerment to the political elites and only issue performance/safety based miniscule share offers to employees and surrounding communities. The same share options that have no weight whatsoever to the running of the company. The mining companies have got themselves to blame for adopting a corporatocracy stance and only focused on the elite South Africans. They thought they would ride the bus steadily with the political elites. What they know but ignored for the sake of expediency, is that business and political leaders cannot ride on the same bus for eternity. Ultimately one will throw another under the bus. The mining companies have been thrown under the bus and as the minister has hinted ‘this was not the end’.
    The mining companies has to make a choice, to empower their primary stakeholders or to continue with their stance of empowering the elites bearing in mind the ‘bus-narrative’. It is critical for the mining companies not to confuse CSR and BEE. Thank you for the Clinic but that gesture does not address issues related to ‘Ownership’. Well done DMR for realizing your mistakes. Continue to legislate with the end in mind – to see the mine CEO and Executives being the children of the fallen Marikana mine workers that we killed for demanding a living wage from their employer, who opted to empower political elites instead of primary stakeholders. ”….we believe our people have the right to have more say in the mining sector in South Africa…”. Our people indeed have more to say, for many years they have been thrown in the black-hole and now they are climbing out. Its only the beginning. Krag!!

  4. Extraordinary thought process of perpetual empowerment. At anytime BEE’s can sell and then the mining co has to redo its empowerment, which naturally, because of an enforced law, means the deal will be done at a major discount. Does this government not realize that capital flows to where it is wanted!! Why invest here when over time your investment will be diluted. Its a crying shame.

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