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Gwede Mantashe says mining charter process will not be restarted from scratch


Mineral Resources minister Gwede Mantashe says the proposed third iteration of the mining charter remained open for input, but the process would certainly not be restarted from scratch.

Mantashe defended various aspects of the draft charter, including its proposed 30% black shareholding in companies that would provide 14% equity to entrepreneurs and a 10% free carry for communities and workers. “Transformation is not a compliance issue. Transformation is a business imperative,” Mantashe said.

Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe. Picture: SOWETAN

Mantashe spoke at the opening of Sasol’s R5.5bn Shondoni mine in Secunda on Thursday. His comments have set the tone for the mining summit this weekend where these and other interested parties will discuss the charter.

Community organisations rejected the draft in its entirety earlier this week on the grounds that they had not been adequately consulted. The Mining Affected Communities United in Action, which was affiliated to more than 200 community organisations, had lobbied against the inclusion of black entrepreneurs and said it was simply a way for politicians to further enrich themselves.

The Minerals Council, which represents most mining companies in SA, has raised concern with the free carry, under which 5% would be given to workers and communities, respectively, at the companies’ expense. The council said it would be a disincentive to new mining projects in particular.

The department felt a 30% empowerment shareholding was important, the minister said. The entrepreneur portion deliberately targeted black capitalists and those who already operated businesses.

Mantashe did acknowledge that it was the companies that would foot the bill for the free carry, but he said it was the workers who “converted every investment into wealth” and that the free carry would garner loyalty from mine employees.

Included in the draft mining charter remains the principle of once empowered, always empowered, in terms of which companies that had previously achieved the target of 26% black ownership would be recognised for it, even if the shareholding was subsequently watered down.

He said, however, that where empowerment partners had been elbowed out, the business could not be considered empowered.​



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