Mining must benefit workers and communities

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe says rules in the draft Mining Charter must not be just about ticking boxes for mining companies but they must work towards improving the lives of workers and communities.

“Communities must have proper trusts, and these trusts must be managed by trustees that report back to the communities,” said the Minister.

He was speaking at a briefing he held on Sunday following the publishing of the much awaited draft Mining Charter published on Friday.

Mantashe called on South Africans, mining companies, organisations and communities to make their voices heard on the Charter.

This follows two months of intensive engagements with stakeholders. During the consultative process, the department visited several mining communities and organisations across the country.

“We are encouraged by the positive contributions, verbal and written, that all communities and the public made. They were invaluable in guiding the process of drafting the Charter.

“We wish to reiterate our commitment, that mining is about people,” said the Minister.

The public has until 27 July 2018 to submit their comments before it is finalised and gazetted.

The new Charter proposes to raise black ownership at permit-holding mining companies to 30% from 26% within five years and 1% of profits paid to employees and communities.

“As we went to the 11 [consultation] areas, some people said to us that the 30% is not sufficient. We said if you compare it to where we were, it is substantial. So we chose to use the systematic graduation of ownership,” said Mantashe.

The charter also calls for half of mining boards to be composed of black people with “exercisable voting rights proportionally represented”, with “20% of which must be black women.”

It further proposes that there must be a 10% free-carry on new mining rights.

“The issue of free-carry is not a cost, but an investment to commit workers to be part of the company by giving them shares,” said Mantashe.

The charter is part of government’s efforts to combat years of exclusion under apartheid through affirmative action rules.

Mining Summit

As the department works towards finalising the charter, it is set to host a Mining Summit to receive further inputs from stakeholders.

The Minister said the department has targeted the 7th and 8th of July 2018 to host the summit.

Once finalised, the draft will be subjected to government’s Socio-Economic Impact Assessment System (SEIAS) to ascertain the likely impact of the charter on the economy and society in general.

“It will then be submitted to Cabinet for approval. Once all these processes have been completed, the final Mining Charter will be gazetted for implementation,” said Mantashe. –