JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The African National Congress (ANC) appears to have reversed its stance on the Mining Charter being enforceable under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) of 2002, which is a major point of contention between the mining industry and government, as it confers legislative powers on the executive and thus violates the rule of law.
Herbert Smith Freehills Africa partner and co-chairperson Peter Leon reported on Friday that the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) resolved at its meeting last weekend to abandon the long-held position of enforcing the charter as part of the Act.
Doing so was one of the concerns that led to President Jacob Zuma referring the MPRDA Amendment Bill back to Parliament in January 2015.
Almost 18 months later, the Bill – which remains unamended in line with the President's concerns – still threatens mining companies with potentially criminal consequences if found to fall short of charter targets.
Resolving, as the ANC’s NEC has done, that the charter should not be enforceable under the Act, averts the imposition of “drastic and impractical demands” that mining companies would struggle to meet, Leon commented in a release to Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online.
“This significant policy reversal could help resolve the differences between the government and the mining industry and begin to bring certainty to the future of the South African mining industry,” he added.