Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane
The Pretoria High Court has ordered that the Chamber of Mines pay legal costs for opposing the community networks’ intervention in the review of the Mining Charter.

This was part of the ruling which concluded yesterday that mining community networks be granted leave to intervene in the review of the Mining Charter brought by the Chamber of Mines against the Minister of Mineral Resources.

To ready about the Chamber of Mines' comments following the ruling, click here

Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA), Women Affected by Mining United in Action (WAMUA), and the Mining and Environmental Justice Network of South Africa (MEJCON-SA), represented by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, have now been joined to the Mining Charter review.

During the hearing, the Minister of Mineral Resources made it clear that community networks were welcome to join the review provided that they were able to keep to the agreed time frames. The Chamber of Mines made it equally clear that they opposed the communities’ intervention.

“We are very pleased with today’s ruling, which promises communities will have a voice in the Mining Charter review,” says Nester Ndebele, National Convenor of MACUA. “This is a step towards recognising that communities are a core stakeholder in mining and must have a say in the laws and policies that affect them.”

“The Court has acknowledged the urgency of this application and accepted that the community networks would not delay the review or prejudice the other parties by intervening,” says Wandisa Phama, attorney at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies.

“It is gratifying that the Court recognised there was no basis for the Chamber of Mines opposing the communities’ intervention by awarding a cost order against them.”

For the past 15 years, negotiations around the Mining Charter have involved only three parties: the state, mining companies and trade unions. Despite the fact that the Mining Charter is intended to address inequality in the sector and benefit communities living in poverty bearing the burdens of mining, it has been developed largely without them.

“The Chamber of Mines has consistently failed to recognise community-based organisations as formal stakeholders, despite persistent attempts to be part of the Mining Charter process,” says Meshack Mbangula, National Co-ordinator of MACUA.

“Precluding a community voice from being part of this case would further exclude community rights and interests in any new regime for transformation in the mining sector.”

The main review is set to be heard on 13 and 14 December 2017.

Read comments from Deloitte on what is needed for the successful implementation of the Mining Charter here