20 March 2018

South Africa: Mining Charter - New Minister, Old Approach?

Word coming out of weekend talks is that new Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe is intent on retaining the outline of the controversial Mining Charter championed by his predecessor. Would this be a concession to practicality - Mantashe has said he wants the job done within three months - or evidence that it will be business as usual at the Department of Mineral Resources? The jury's still out. Meanwhile, questions are being asked as to why community activists and the AMCU were missing from the most recent negotiations.

"We cannot throw the Mining Charter out with the dirty water," National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) General Secretary David Sipunzi told Daily Maverick on Monday.

"The Chamber [of Mines] may have some differences, but we cannot start from scratch. We have to deal with areas of dissatisfaction."

This sentiment appears to be shared by new Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe.

Closed-door talks between government, industry and labour this weekend produced reports that the new mining minister wants to retain the basic elements of the charter, which in the past has been rejected unequivocally by the mining industry for its onerous transformation requirements.

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