ANC wants urgent meeting with Zwane about Mining Charter

Cape Town – The ANC seeks an urgent meeting with Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane following the release of the third and final Mining Charter on Thursday.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa told News24 by phone that the ruling party’s economic transformation committee had raised a number of concerns about the new Charter – specifically about the impact the raised level of black ownership to 30% could have on jobs in the sector.

GAZETTE: Read the full Mining Charter 

The economic transformation committee met on June 5 and "a few issues" were raised, said Kodwa.

"We wanted the Minister to report back on these and clarify the points raised. The ANC is very concerned about the impact legislation could have in terms of employment, given that the mining sector lost 60 000 jobs over the last five years.

"So, if there’s 30% black ownership it mustn’t lead to a jobs bloodbath," Kodwa said.

The announcement of the new Charter had a significant impact on markets with the rand sliding back by close to 2%, while mining companies lost about R30bn of their combined market capitalisation.

READ: Markets bloodbath as Zwane shocks mining sector 

In the revised Charter the black ownership target was upped from 26% to 30% - a requirement mining companies will need to comply with within a 12-month period.

Mining lawyer Peter Leon of Herbert Smith Freehills told Fin24 the negative market reaction could be attributed to the elevated black ownership target of 30%. Under the Thabo Mbeki presidency government vowed not to change the black ownership requirement which was 26% at the time.

The "moving of the goalposts", Leon said sparked the drastic market movements. "Investors don’t like uncertainty."

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba also remarked on the negative market reaction. He told journalists at a media briefing on Thursday although the new Charter is a "welcome step" there have been "consequences".

He urged Zwane to engage with the Chamber of Mines and unions to address concerns.

READ: Gigaba worries about shock market reaction on mines charter 

Meanwhile the Chamber of Mines, which is representative of about 90% of the mining industry, vowed to fight the changes in the new Charter in court if needed.

At a media briefing in Johannesburg, held approximately two hours after Zwane’s announcement, the Chamber said it will serve an interdict on the Department of Mineral Resources to force it to immediately suspend the implementation of the Charter. They will also take the Charter on legal review.

The Chamber called the latest Charter an ill-conceived document and said it was a "big hit" on the mining industry. 

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