African National Congress (ANC) presidential hopeful, Mathews Phosa, has rubbished the recently revised Mining Charter as a document crafted by “corrupt politicians who colluded with illegal immigrants” in an attempt to get their hands on the country’s mineral resources.
Under threat of legal action, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane suspended the implementation of the revised charter two weeks ago, but Phosa was still scathing.
Speaking in an interview in Cape Town on the sidelines of SME indaba on Wednesday, Phosa said the charter must be rejected because it was drafted without proper consultations with the industry as required by law.
“It is for that reason that I am opposed to the revised Mining Charter thrown into our laps without the necessary legally prescribed consultative processes,” said the outspoken politician.
Phosa, who is an attorney, has become the first senior ranking ANC member to publicly denounce the mineral resources minister’s move to force through the charter.
On Wednesday Zwane’s deputy, Godfrey Oliphant, told Talk Radio 702 that he was not consulted or informed about the proposed changes to the charter and only found out through media reports. He, however, said his boss was not obliged to consult or inform him.
Zwane has twice rocked the mining industry by first gazetting a controversial third version of the Mining Charter on June 15, which knocked R51-billion off listed mining companies’ market capitalisation, and then on July 19 gazetting a notice that he proposed to restrict the granting of new mining and prospecting rights and the transfer of mineral rights between companies, the lifeblood of the mining sector.
Phosa urged party members to confront the ANC leadership over the many disastrous decisions they have taken that impacted negatively on the economy.
“I think we should sweep out the current leadership together with their Saxonwold puppet masters and elect new and honourable leaders with no ties to those who want to sell South Africa to the highest bidder,” he suggested.
Phosa, who has been asked by some party members to contest the leadership of the ANC in December, was making reference to the wealthy Gupta family accused of having undue influence in higher echelons of government in order to score massive tenders.
The former ANC treasurer said party members should be worried about the state of State-owned enterprises (SOE) as their weak financial position and poor governance raises the risk of instability across the country.
He said the poor state of SOEs including power utility Eskom, South Africa Airways, Denel – the aerospace and defence technology conglomerate, South Africa Social Security Agency and the South African Post Office, remain a matter of concern.
“A strong leadership in the ANC will influence the government to achieve the policies of the ANC and ultimately move South Africa forward, this will, in turn, strengthen the ANC itself, today we have a weak ANC that is affecting the running of the State, our Parliament is losing every court case, all our SOEs are struggling.”
Phosa urged party members to “seriously discuss” the state of SOEs. “The state of these entities must give members of the ANC sleepless nights, must consume our branch discussions and must worry us.”
Last month Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba announced that partial privatisation of SOEs was on the agenda to help revive the economy.
The action items mentioned by the minister included recapitalisation of SOEs and government guarantees. This involves the disposal of noncore assets which Gigaba said could be finalised by March 2018.