Former Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. Picture: GCIS

Business In The News South Africa

Zwane halts implementation of controversial Mining Charter, for now

JOHANNESBURG, July 14 –  The Chamber of Mines said on Friday that Mineral Resources Minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, has given a written undertaking that his department will not implement or apply the provisions of the Mining Charter in any way, pending judgement in an urgent interdict application brought by the industry.

The 2017 Reviewed Mining Charter has been vehemently rejected by the industry, with the Chamber saying that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) had not had meaningful consultations before the introduction of some of the items, and thus it would approach the courts to stop the department from implementing it.

The Chamber then went to court seeking an urgent interdict to prevent the implementation of the DMR’s Reviewed Charter, which was published on June 15.

The Reviewed Charter’s targets include new mining rights holders having 30 percent black ownership to be shared among employees, communities and black entrepreneurs. Mining rights holders who have complied with the previous target of 26 percent have to “top up” to 30 percent within 12 months.

The Chamber said Zwane had furthermore undertaken that, in the event of any breach of the his undertaking, the Chamber can set the urgent interdict application down for hearing on 48 hours’ notice to him.

Based on the written undertaking, the Chamber of Mines has acceded to the DMR’s request for extra time to prepare its answering affidavit to the interdict application and for the hearing to take place on a later date. The hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, July 18.

The parties have also asked the deputy judge president of the High Court to allocate a hearing date in September 2017. This date is subject to allocation by the deputy judge president, which is expected to occur by around the end of July.

Chamber’s chief executive, Roger Baxter, said: “This is a satisfactory arrangement for the Chamber and the industry, whose primary objective through the interdict application remains to ensure that the DMR’s Charter does not come into effect, pending a court application to have it reviewed and set aside.”

Mineral department’s spokesperson, Martin Madlala, was not immediately available for comment.

The Chamber said its application to have the DMR’s latest version of the Mining Charter reviewed in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA) and the Constitution will be lodged as soon as possible after judgement has been handed down in the Chamber’s urgent interdict application.

Meanwhile, the Chamber’s Application for a Declaratory Order in respect of the recognition of prior BEE transactions under the Original and 2010 Charters, has been re-enrolled by the deputy judge president for hearing on November 9 and 10.

 – African News Agency (ANA)

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