20 February 2018

South Africa: Mining Charter - Ramaphosa to the Rescue - but Community Voices Still Ignored

President Cyril Ramaphosa's personal intervention in the current impasse around the controversial Mining Charter has been greeted with relief and optimism by industry players. One of Ramaphosa's first presidential moves was to negotiate the postponement of court action, slated to start on Monday, aimed at setting aside the charter. But members of community groups directly affected by mining say that - as has become the norm - their views on the matter were ignored.

The members of more than 150-based community organisations were eagerly anticipating Monday, February 19 - the day they expected to finally have their say in court about the much-debated Mining Charter, a document which they maintain has failed in each of its three iterations to reflect the views of people who live around South African mines.

But, over the weekend, an agreement was struck between government and the mining industry, at the personal behest of President Cyril Ramaphosa. After the Presidency held last-minute talks following Friday's State of the Nation Address, it announced on Sunday:

"The Chamber of Mines, on behalf of its members, has agreed jointly with the Department of Mineral Resources to postpone its court application in respect of the Reviewed...

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