PARLIAMENT, March 20 – Government would not go back to the drawing board on Mining Charter 3, which sets ambitious targets for black ownership of South Africa’s mines, but was open to amendments, Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday.
Addressing journalists in Pretoria and via video link to Parliament, Mantashe reported back on a meeting with the mining industry, unions and MPs at the weekend.
“Our view as a department was that we cannot start if there is nothing that has happened. Here’s Mining Charter 3. Yes, there’s disagreement. Here it is, let’s discuss it. If we must amend or correct certain aspects we’ll do so….”
The meeting with the industry comes after the Chamber of Mines put on ice a high court challenge of the third iteration of the Mining Charter at the request of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Mantashe described the meeting as “constructive”.
“That meeting was robust and open, recognised there was a lack of consultation between the ministry and the partners in the past. This had contributed to a trust deficit..,” he said.
“The meeting dealt with disagreements on the Mining Charter 3. It considered areas of convergence and divergence regarding the charter. It also recognised that other affected actors, who were not present at these deliberations, would need to be included as we proceed.”
Mantashe said two task teams had been set up – one to focus on transformation in the sector and another to “engage on issues of growth and competitiveness”.
The teams have been given three weeks to report back on a “vision for the industry”.
In addition, said Mantashe, the Mining Industry Growth Development and Employment Task Team (MIGDETT) would be revived. The forum was established in 2008 to help the industry counteract the effect the financial crisis of that time had in the mining industry.
“This revived structure will enable us, as social partners, to meet regularly and proactively deal with issues confronting the sector, instead of waiting for a crisis to bring us together.”
The department is setting up stakeholder meetings in mining communities in Limpopo, North West, Mpumalanga and Gauteng, as well as labour-sending communities elsewhere in South Africa.
The Mining Charter was gazetted in June, but its implementation is being challenged by the Chamber of Mines which continues to argue it would harm the industry and the overall economy.
The charter sets new black ownership targets for the industry, including a stipulation that new mining rights holders have 30 percent black ownership shared among employees, communities and black entrepreneurs.
– African News Agency (ANA)