The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has called on the Department of Mineral Resources (DRM) and the government to ensure the Mining Charter becomes a legislative provision.

AMCU’s President, Joseph Mathunjwa, made the call at the nationwide marches that the Union embarked on a day before the commemoration of Human Rights in South Africa. Legislating the Mining Charter was one of the 15 demands the Union tabled in the memorandum delivered to representatives of the DMR in Pretoria, Limpopo, Welkom and Durban.

“The Mining Charter must be legislated and should cease being a code of good practice,” President Mathunjwa said. “This would mean that it is no longer a code of good practice under the BBBEE Act, but an act of parliament within the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) dispensation. This will transform the sector and give greater ownership rights to workers who must be consulted in board decisions.” The Union gave the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) until Tuesday 27 March to respond to the demands.

The call by AMCU’s top brass comes a few weeks after the Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe, announced that the consultative process on the Mining Charter had commenced. Mantashe said the Charter would be out in three months’ time.

The Mining Charter was one of the contentious issues under the former Mineral Resources Minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, regime.

The Chamber of Mines went as far as instituting legal intervention to halt maneuvers by Zwane. Mine bosses and the Chamber have been warming to the entrance of Mantashe but Unions such as AMCU will be keeping a close eye at the new minister to ensure workers’ interests are protected.