There are concerns that the Department of Mineral Resources has sufficient capacity and senior expertise to manage the monitoring of and compliance with the new Mining Charter.
This is according to Solidarity general secretary Gideon du Plessis who was commenting on the progress minister Gwede Mantashe is making towards finalising a Charter following engagement with all stakeholders.
“In addition to the dubious appointments made by former mining minister Mosebenzi Zwane within the department and at statutory institutions affiliated with the department, there is also a lack of additional senior level expertise. While other state departments have a large number of superfluous staff members, minister Mantashe will have to address his department’s capacity challenges,” Du Plessis notes.
“One way of addressing this problem effectively could be to combine the Departments of Mineral Resources and that of Energy again in order to unite the pool of expertise,” Du Plessis adds.
Negotiations in the Mining Charter Task Team and parallel-running Competition Task Team are proceeding full steam ahead in the hope that a new Charter will be adopted as soon as possible, which will once again create policy certainty for the mining sector and investors Du Plessis notes.
“Although the controversial version of Charter 3, drafted under Zwane, serves as the basis for negotiations, the next version should be radically different from the Zwane version. The Zwane version contains many unimplementable and unrealistic clauses, and is fraught with flaws and contradictions which can now, 24 months later, be rectified.”
Du Plessis contends that although much negotiation still needs to take place within the Task Team and the Principals’ Forum, the past three weeks’ negotiations have again spawned social dialogue and, to a large extent, the damage wrought by the Zwane era has been mitigated by a sense of cohesion that is developing among parties.
“AMCU’s participation also signals a positive turn of events and strengthens the position of organised labour in the negotiations. It also ensures that mine workers are represented over a broader spectrum,” Du Plessis concludes.