Govt. to appeal sticking point in Mining Charter as ideology divides it from business

THE road has been cleared for the South African government to appeal a court ruling on ‘once-empowered, always empowered’, the Minerals Council South Africa said.

This means that the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) can take a key sticking point contained in the third version of the Mining Charter – (Mining Charter III) – to the Supreme Court further delaying regulatory certainty in the sector.

The contest is over whether empowerment deals that complied with the Mining Charter have to be repeated if, for any reason, they lapse.

The council said in a statement today it respected the right for the mines minister, Gwede Mantashe, to seek leave to appeal the declaratory order, adding however that it hoped the matter would be ‘ventilated’ in court speedily.

Privately, however, the drawn out nature of the legal dispute must be a major drag for the council because it serves to remind lenders and mining companies that regulatory uncertainty still lurks at the heart of the country’s mining sector.

Whilst the Minerals Council has been seeking to settle the matter out of court, media was given a reminder of government’s side of the argument during a round table on September 13.

Asked for his view on whether Mining Charter III represented the final version of document, Mantashe responded: “We are dealing with transformation at a superficial level. It is really about dealing with a system formalised by DF Malan [a former president: 1948-54]. The super-builder of apartheid, [Hendrik] Verwoerd [a former president: 1958-61], made the point that he constructed a system that no government could undo.

“We need to see it from that level rather than looking at whether Charter is the last or not,” said Mantashe. “Not until there is normality in society,” he said in direct response as to whether there would be a stop to Mining Charter iterations.

“It is not a Minerals Council charter, but a charter for transforming society. If there is a change in the ownership of the mining sector, it helps to allow black people to have meaningful stake in business.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. So the Mining Charter is to be changed in multiple iterations until society reaches “normality”. I support this sentiment completely – who wouldn’t want to live in a normal society? – no point in arguing that motherhood and apple pie point.

    I’m quite sure though that this is not a practical way of attracting investment. “We will keep changing the investment rules until we think society has reached normality – and no, we won’t clearly define what we mean by “normality” – because than we won’t be able to constantly keep changing the investment rules.”

    This is not a strategy for a “sunrise”industry that needs to constantly attract both local and international investment.

  2. Dmr is using tax payers money to defend a policy that is chasing away foreign investment.
    In a normal society, such a Minister would have been fired on the spot.
    However in our non normal society government officials are promoted for being bad in their jobs and Ministers are praised for being tough on industry.
    This is a joke.
    I wish to invite everyone to go and visit the circus that Minister Mantashe calls the DMR… and you decide whether its worthwhile to invest your hard earned money here or to put your future in the hands of those Government officials.

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