As the Chamber of Mines said it would go to court in order to get an interdict against the implementation of the Mining Charter, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said he was disappointed that people use courts in order to legislate.
The charter set a new target for black ownership of mines at 30% and that this requirement should be fulfilled and complied with within a 12 month period.
Speaking on the sidelines of a Black Economic Empowerment Advisory Council workshop at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Pretoria, Zwane said the Chamber of Mines has the right to go to court but that he would continue to do his work and that if people were not happy in this “democratic country then we allow them to go to court and the court will decide”.
“We will also go to court, our courts are not made for specific people although we are very disappointed that people are beginning to use courts to legislate,” said Zwane.
He added that they would go to court to hear what the Chamber of Mines has to say as well as give his side of the story.
In a statement, the Chamber of Mines said it had met with an African National Congress delegation led by secretary general Gwede Mantashe.
“The point was made that legal action against government of this sort is seen only as a matter of last resort and is brought only once all other avenues have failed,” said Chamber of Mines spokesperson Charmane Russell.
Zwane defended the Mining Charter saying black people are demanding more of the government and that the government needs to start implanting change, which is what the Mining Charter does.
“It will be unfortunate, but it’s part of life that some people in our country sees this as a big issue when we need to transform the lives of the majority of the people who have been oppressed all along,” he said.
“The majority of people in this country, they say we are many, you should have put it at 50% and I say to everybody, we have consulted with more than 60 stakeholders, so we are balancing what we are achieving, we do not want to be reckless.”
Chamber of Mines CEO Roger Baxter said the mining industry remained committed to transformation as a national imperative.
“We need to continue on the industry’s transformation journey that has been going on in earnest since the original charter came into effect more than 13 years ago,” said Baxter.
“But it needs to be based on workable targets and guidelines that enable an effective transformation process proceeding in a competitive and growing industry. As we have previously indicated, the DMR charter fails in this respect.”