THE BOTTOM LINE
Will Gwede’s hot-button charter hit Cyril’s desk today?
Mineral Resources minister promised a final version of the Mining Charter before cabinet meets on Wednesday
SA will get its first look at its new and highly anticipated Mining Charter in just days. Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe said last week his team was going to have a final version ready to hand over to President Cyril Ramaphosa ahead of Wednesday’s cabinet meeting.
Assuming the document, which governs transformation of the mining sector, is approved by the cabinet it is likely the charter will be gazetted by the end of the week and usher in a new set of rules for SA’s mining companies.
What is clear is that Mantashe has to be seen listening to the demands of the ruling party’s constituency in communities and labour by upping the black ownership levels of mining companies to 30% from 26% in a prescriptive formula that sees those two groupings sharing 16 percentage points of that ownership.
The department has also tried to find a way to ensure benefits flow quickly to communities and labour, with a 1% trickle dividend deducted from the operating profit level and that 10 percentage points of the 16% are carried free of charge or payment and equally split between the two groupings.
The Minerals Council of SA has opposed the two clauses as being problematic and unlikely to foster investment in the troubled mining sector. Mantashe has invited the council to come up with alternative proposals instead of just standing firmly opposed to the draft clauses.
It’s not far-fetched to say the future of SA’s mining industry depends on the new charter and how skillfully Mantashe and his experienced team have managed to juggle such divergent and competing interests.