Mantashe wants charter finalised

Gwede Mantashe
Image: IHSAAN HAFFEJEE/The Times

The third version of the Mining Charter will be finalised and debated in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, ahead of its implementation, says mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe.

The third version of the charter, which sets transformation and development goals for the industry, has been extensively debated since Mantashe was appointed to his post in February. He replaced the discredited Mosebenzi Zwane, who oversaw an initial version of the third charter that was roundly criticised by mining companies, investors and lawyers.

After extending the public comment period on the draft charter to the end of August, 126 more submissions were made and these have been considered, Mantashe said on Friday, adding that his team has been “locked in a room” for five days, and will be over the weekend, to finalise the document for today.

“After [the cabinet meeting], we are running,” Mantashe said on the sidelines of a mining technology exhibition.

Mantashe has used that draft charter as the basis for talks since February, drawing on the comments from Minerals Council SA, labour and communities, as well as financial institutions.

The draft version Mantashe put into the market in June was regarded as an improvement, but still considered deeply flawed by Minerals Council SA, with a 10% free-carry stake to be shared between labour and communities as part of their 16% stake in mining companies and projects. The draft also proposed a trickle dividend of 1% from the operating profit line, which was also picked out as problematic by the council.

It remains to be seen what changes will be made to the final charter Mantashe will present to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday, and when it will be made public.

Mantashe said he would, at the same cabinet meeting on Wednesday, propose scrapping the long-delayed and problematic bill amending the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA), allowing for the separation of the oil and gas sectors in the act and putting them into their own law.

Mantashe has also taken a swipe at energy minister Jeff Radebe for wanting to have the bill amending the MPRDA expedited, saying it is a decision that rests with him alone.

He said there was a “very positive response” to the proposal to scrap the bill.

Asked about recent comments from Radebe that he wanted the amendment bill in its current form expedited, Mantashe dismissed the comments out of hand.

“He ran short of [the] courtesy of confirming with me. It’s my space and I’m the last person to make the call.”

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