The Democratic Alliance (DA) has taken note of the fact that the Minerals Council of South Africa has now lodged court papers contesting aspects of the Mining Charter gazetted by Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, towards the end of 2018.
Minister Mantashe’s reported response to this court challenge was to sound off a warning that the mining industry must prepare itself for protracted court battles on the Mining Charter, should it choose not to accept the document. Mantashe has made it clear by this statement that he will continue to work against the mining sector instead of working with it.
The Minister is clearly defaulting to his union-based position, without seemingly engaging with the content of the arguments which have been presented by the Minerals Council.
The reality is that the Mining Charter is a mad idea and should be scrapped in its entirety. Our mining sector needs to be opened up in order to become more competitive and innovative, and a net creator of employment.
Government policy and regulation should create certainty which attracts investment if we want to grow our economy and create jobs. At present, Minister Mantashe’s threat of protracted legal battles does not bode well for investor confidence – and it is further compounding the effects of the Mining Charter as mining companies are discouraged from actively investing in South Africa. As a result, these companies will soon start seeking other opportunities elsewhere in Africa and globally.
Litigation should only be a last resort, but Minister Mantashe and the National Government only seem to understand that they are doing no good when forced to face reality by the courts.
The DA maintains that the only way the mining industry will prosper is when the ANC Government scrap the disastrous Mining Charter; streamline mining rights administration; make it easier for mines to produce their own electricity, or purchase directly from Independent Power Producers; clean up the corruption in the department; and reign in the unions.