At a media briefing to explain the contents of the new Charter, Zwane said the new Mining Charter has pushed up the black ownership target from 26% to 30%, while mining prospecting rights will only be granted to companies that have a 50% plus one black ownership structure.
“The Charter is being gazetted this afternoon,” Zwane said. “The button has been pressed. There’s no turning back. The success of this Charter to me is when we collectively get to a point where the minerals of the people in this country is shared among the people of South Africa,” Zwane said.
The Mines Minister said mining companies that already have a 26% black ownership structure will only be required to get an additional 4% to reach the 30% black ownership-target.
“Those who don’t have 26% will need to empower from the current percentage up to 30%,” Zwane said.
The new charter will also not acknowledge historic empowerment deals and has given the mining sector a year to reach the new ownership target of 30% from 26%.
During question time Zwane was asked about the ambitious new targets for black representation at board and management level of mining companies and whether there is indeed a pool of people in the industry who could be appointed to such positions.
Zwane responded in the affirmative. “Every year there are people who graduate, but some of them need to resort to car-washing because there are no jobs for them,” Zwane said.
The Minister said the new revised charter was as a result of wide consultation with some 60 stakeholders, including the Chamber of Mines, communities, workers, Cabinet ministers and the ruling party.
“We have done all we could do,” Zwane said. “No single one can have all its views reflected in the (new) charter. It’s a charter where the people of South Africa have told us what to do – communities, traditional leaders, politicians and the Chamber of Mines.”
Zwane also took a swipe at parties who resort to the courts to find resolutions to matters they are unhappy with.
“This notion of (going to) courts has become a popular way of negotiating,” he said, most likely in reference to the Chamber of Mines’ mooted court action to get clarity on the once-empowered-always-empowered principle. DM
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