South Africa – A consensus could not be reached on what constitutes the 26% black economic empowerment (BEE) compliance at the Department of Mineral Resources’ (DMR) Mining Industry Growth Development and Employment Task Team  (MIGDETT) meeting and Mining Charter compliance assessment held on March 31, 2015.

This resulted in a decision by the MIGDETT stakeholders to subject its different interpretations to a court ruling.

The DMR, headed by Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi, is still of the opinion that the quickest way to resolve the interpretative impasse on what constitutes the 26% in the Mining Charter is deemed to be “an urgent application to our courts to assist us with a correct interpretation and possibly a declaratory order which will bind all the stakeholders in the equation.”

DMR minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi at a conference held on March 31, 2015 to discuss the Mining Charter interim results report
DMR minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi (Middle) at a conference held on March 31, 2015 to discuss the Mining Charter interim results report

To that end; DMR has now engaged and briefed its legal representatives to kick start the legal processes as soon as possible mindful of the urgency with which Ramatlhodi wants.

The Chamber of Mines (CoM) has also briefed its legal team.

Both DMR and the CoM’s legal teams will within a reasonable period consult with each other to agree and narrow the issues which must be submitted to our courts for a clear direction.

Once the legal processes have gone a full circle and finalised by the courts, all parties/stakeholders will abide by the court’s decision.

A statement released by the DMR on Monday said that delaying the implementation of the Mining Charter for far too long a period would take stakeholders, in particular, as well as the South African citizens and the owners of the country’s mineral resources  no further towards total transformation of the economy, which justifiably so, must benefit all and sundry.

The statement further said that commitment towards the transformation of the country’s mineral resources sector has the potential to “realise all the tenets espoused in the Mining Charter”.

Once achieved, job opportunities in this sector will also open up easily.

The DMR says that Ramatlhodi is within the legal constitutional dictates of South Africa’s constitution, determined to see the Mining Charter “fully implemented to the letter”.

To implement the Mining Charter substantively; the DMR believes stakeholders must agree, as seeing issues differently, even though the Minister is the regulator of the industry, can result in those who feel aggrieved with no choice but to go courts.

“Litigation of this nature, which will invariably be adversarial, can result in lengthy court processes that may go on for years before being resolved thereby end up delaying the implementation of the Mining Charter even longer,” the statement concluded.

The MIGDETT meeting stakeholders comprised the DMR, the National Union of Mineworkers, the CoM, Solidarity, SAMDA and UASA. The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, which was invited, was not present.

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