JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) - Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has hit back at the Chamber of Mines (CoM) in a dispute over the Mining Charter Three, accusing the chamber of blocking transformation efforts in the mining industry.
Filing his answering affidavit in the High Court of South Africa on Monday, Zwane said the response decisively countered the many “fallacies” put forth by the CoM, which was opposed to the implementation of the new charter.
Zwane and the CoM have been at odds since June, when the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) published the newly reviewed Mining Charter, sparking legal action from the CoM to halt its implementation.
The chamber believes the reviewed Charter will cause irreparable damage to the industry, benefiting a select few, destroying investment and leading to further job losses.
“The answering affidavit demonstrates that every complaint of the applicant in respect of the Mining Charter is, in essence, an attempt to block effective and meaningful participation of black persons in the mining and minerals industry,” Zwane said in a statement post the filing.
The CoM, however, disagreed, saying: “This is simply not true, and the ongoing changing of the face of the industry over many years demonstrates that. The chamber’s only proviso is that real transformation must be implemented with due regard to what is achievable, bearing in mind the realities of the situation the industry faces.”
The chamber claimed that the charter was designed to “extract billions of rands” in revenues a year from mining right holders into an agency that allegedly had no governance in place and was controlled solely by the Mineral Resources Minister.
“There is no transparency or, indeed, any indication as to who will ever have the opportunity to access these funds and how the funds will be applied in a publicly accountable manner. This is further an unconstitutional attempt to collect an additional tax,” the CoM said in a response statement on Tuesday.
“The founding papers straddle dozens of complex issues and make sweeping allegations and conclusions which are unfounded and which do not have regard to the history, context, facts and the proper policy underpinnings of the 2017 Charter,” Zwane countered.