ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe says economic transformation
in the mining sector must be implemented without any hindrance to
rectify the economic imbalances of the past. “It will be the issue of that particular Minister to talk to that industry. The minister must provide leadership and engage the mining industry and make them
understand the importance of transformation.”
James Lorimer, Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources
The decision by Mineral Resources Minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, to freeze the issuing of new mining and prospecting licences shows that the ANC would choose for there to be no mining activity at all, unless there is a share for its politically connected.
As it stands, the Mining Charter is a mess which was the result of disastrous unilateral decisions, and its sudden gazetting last month cost the economy R50 billion when it was introduced.
Since then, broad spectrum opposition to the Charter has forced the Minister to suspend it, pending consultations. Importantly, it is our belief that the existing Charter is massively flawed and the Minister needs to go back to the drawing board and needs to restart the process to produce an inclusive Charter which will benefit the industry instead of harm it.
The DA will therefore write to Zwane to request that he redraft the Mining Charter, so that this time, the process will be inclusive and that all stakeholders are engaged and given a fair opportunity to participate.
We will also ask the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources, Sahlulele Luzipo, to invite Zwane to Parliament so he can account for why there was no consultation previously.
However, the redrafting does not mean that issuing of new mining licences must be stopped.
Given that more than nine million South Africans are without work, closing the door on new business is irresponsible. The minister’s move will adversely impact the growth of the mining sector. It is shocking that just when South Africa should be pulling out all the stops to attract investors, Zwane is actively chasing them away.
The fact that the top official responsible for implementing this order had not even been informed of it when it was issued, shows that Zwane is acting in a dictatorial manner which is unsuitable for the office he occupies. In addition to this, the probable illegality of Zwane’s order displays rank amateurism that appears more like a childish tantrum than anything else.
Yet again, the ANC has shown that it cannot and will not improve the lives of South Africans.
This moratorium will not only hit small businesses in the mining industry the hardest but will also prevent new entrants to the market. This will only put a stop to job creation as the mining industry cannot grow under these conditions.
Statement issued by the Chamber of Mines, 20 July 2017
The Chamber of Mines has taken legal advice following the notice by the Minister of Mineral Resources published in the Government Gazette yesterday (19 July 2017), which indicates that the notice constitutes an unlawful action for a number of reasons, including:
1. the damaging impact of the proposed action on the mining sector; and
2. that the Minister is acting ‘ultra vires’ or beyond his powers under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA).
The Chamber is writing to the Minister to request his immediate withdrawal of the notice, failing which the Chamber will apply for an urgent interdict to suspend and review the notice.
The Chamber concludes that the ‘effect of the notice is to pave the way for the Minister to issue a further notice to prevent the issuing of new mining and exploration rights which will have an immediate negative impact on investment in the sector’.