Minster of Mineral Resources, Mosebenzi Zwane, has filed his answering affidavit in the Pretoria High Court; opposing the urgent interdict by the Chamber of Mines, which seeks to halt the implementation of the revised Mining Charter.
The minister claims the Chamber is opposed to transformation in the mining and minerals industry, and is attempting to block effective and meaningful participation of black persons in the industry.
The Chamber dismissed the allegations made by Zwane as aggressive; noting that the ongoing changing face of the industry over the years demonstrates transformation in mining.
“We as the Chamber note the aggressive nature of the statement and also the manner in which the statement makes judgments that are property of the High Court. We will seek to limit our comments to matters of fact and of public policy, “said the Chamber in a statement.
But we consulted-DMR
Zwane claims in his affidavit that the Chamber of Mines has spoken fallacies about the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) including a lack of consultation with them regarding the Charter, and has paraded them as truths.
“The Mining Charter was never meant to be an ‘aspirational document’ as is suggested by the Chamber, and the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) very clearly empowers the Minister of Mineral Resources to develop a Charter,” said Zwane.
“Throughout the course of its deliberations and consultations with the Chamber from at least July 2016 onward, the department kept the Chamber appraised of its thinking and consulted with them as the draft 2017 charter evolved, as part of the consultative process with all the other parties.
“Over the period March 2016 to March 2017 there were at least 17 substantive meetings and extensive engagements which the Department held with the Chamber in relation to the draft 2017 Charter. No other stakeholder was afforded this,” the DMR said.
Is Charter causing irreparable damage?
Zwane dismissed that the Chamber’s concerns of apprehension and harm by the revised charter to the industry as overstated; referring to the Chamber’s complaint that R50 billion has been wiped off mining stocks.
“When any legislative or policy change in the country is mooted and debated, it affects those in economic control who might choose in the short term to sell their stocks, but to use the litmus test of the short term movement in mining stocks in response to a policy and legislative shift as a gauge for the lawfulness of those policy/legislative interventions, is incorrect,” said Zwane.
The minister’s answering affidavit, was due 31 July 2017, but was filed a week later. The ministry sited travel by the mininster, absence of key stakeholders, and the complex issues in the Chambers affidavit, for their late submission.
“It took a longer period of time in order to deal with those aspects, as demonstrated in the relatively fuller answering affidavit filed today,” Zwane concluded.