The Chamber of Mines made an urgent application to the Pretoria High Court yesterday for an order preventing the implementation of the latest version of the mining charter, warning that it would destroy the industry.
In its application, the chamber states that its members are fully committed to the transformational objectives of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, but were opposed to the new mining charter, which was released by Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane recently.
“The members of the chamber are opposed to the mining charter as it attempts to subvert those objectives by the unlawful publication of instruments which purport to give effect to such objectives but in fact undermine them,” the chamber said.
In the revised charter, the black ownership target was upped from 26% to 30%. Mining companies will have to comply within a year.
The ANC said it was unhappy with the charter and Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba remarked on the market’s adverse reaction to it.
Gigaba said that although the new charter was a “welcome step”, there have been “consequences”. He urged Zwane to talk to the Chamber of Mines and unions.
In its court papers, the chamber contends the publication of the 2017 charter was beyond Zwane’s powers and that he “has purported to exercise powers which reside exclusively with parliament, which he has sought to usurp”.
The chamber questioned why Zwane changed the words previously disadvantaged groups to black persons.
“The definition of black person impermissibly widens the scope of those who may benefit from the provisions of the charter to include not only persons or communities disadvantaged by unfair discrimination before the Constitution took effect, but also Africans, coloureds and Indians who became citizens of the Republic of South Africa by naturalisation on or after April 27 1994 and who would have been entitled to acquire citizenship by naturalisation prior to that date,” the chamber said.