The new minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe, seems to be settling into his new role with determination. Barely a week into the job, Mantashe announced that the Mining Charter that was drafted by his predecessor Mosebenzi Zwane is essentially dead, with a Gwede-led Mining Charter expected to be finalised by June.

Prioritising the completion of the Mining Charter is a good start, and while minister’s words have been lauded by mining stakeholders that include the Chamber of Mines, the minister is a tainted man. The appointment of Mantashe has not inspired confidence in AMCU, which was excluded from negotiations for the Zwane-led Mining Charter. And with good reason. Minister Mantashe brings a lot of skeletons to his new portfolio.

Other than being a former leader at AMCU-rival National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Minister Mantashe was found by the Marikana Commission of Inquiry to be involved in the events leading up to the Marikana Massacre. Even more troubling is the fact that while Mantashe told the commission that his meeting with Cyril Ramaphosa (then Deputy President of South Africa and a Lonmin shareholder) was in his capacity as a former NUM leader, finding point to the meeting being called in Mantashe’s capacity as the then Secretary General of the African National Congress.

Is it any wonder AMCU fears that Mantashe’s appointment will compromise workers? As a further nod to possible conflict of interest he brings to the portfolio, a member of the minister’s family and NUM member Nkosinathi Mantashe has been implicated in the 2017 assassination of AMCU members in the platinum belt.

AMCU believes that the Ministry of Mineral Resources should be led by a neutral person who can be trusted to put workers interest first when legislating the mining



7 March 2018 by Trust Matsilele