Mineral Resources Minister, Gwede Mantashe, says “talks on the new Charter are 80% done.”

He (Mantashe) made these comments at a one-day Platinum Conference held in Johannesburg last Tuesday.

As the Mining Weekly reported, “the minister predicted that the new document guiding transformation of the South African mining sector (known as the Mining Charter) will be ready and gazetted in May”. The irony is, no actual transformation will take place.

What did Mantashe say at the conference?

Minister Mantashe said the Department of Mineral Resources would not appeal against a High Court ruling that found in favour of the Chamber of Mines on BEE requirements.

Are we walking away from Radical Economic Transformation?

The previous minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, had pushed the BEE requirement to 30% from the current requirement of  26%. The former minister also required companies to continuously top up their black ownership levels to at least 26% in line with the first two charters.

The move by Zwane was viewed as too radical by an industry that’s averse to transformation. In Mantashe they have a minister whom in his own words “had no tolerance for empowerment partners who speculated on their shares in a mining company and sold out quickly to make an easy profit.”

With the industry cozying up to Mantashe, we have this assurance that no transformation will take place as long as he remains Mineral Resources Minister. This should leave workers worried.

Mining Charter

On the contentious Mining Charter, the minister promised that the policy would be gazetted in May. This is in line with his promise that it would take him three months to come up with an acceptable Charter.

Now Mantashe, a month after making the announcement, says the Charter is 80% done. This statement begs the question, has enough consultation been done.

Already other analysts and concerned parties are arguing that the Mantashe-led Charter will be, yet another document meant to appease mining companies and bosses at the expense of workers.

Real transformation?

More shocking than what Mantashe said is what he didn’t. The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has been calling for mine shafts that are being closed to be handed over to workers to continue with operations. Mantashe said nothing relating to that.

If anything, South Africa has entered a period of state and corporate collusion against ordinary miners whose interests are being relegated to the margins with mining conglomerates that has been enjoying obscene benefits at the back of struggling workers who pay with their lives for companies’ profits.

If you thought it would be uhuru under Minister Gwede Mantashe, think again.

 

18 April 2018 by Trust Matsilele