The lived experience of communities affected by mining operations must be factored in when considering the matter of whether black ownership initiatives in the mining sector have met reasonable expectations.
This is the position of a community based organisation, Serodumo sa Rona, which has joined the Mining Charter matter amicus curae style in a representation made by the Legal Resources Centre (LRC). Serodumo sa Rona, an organisation based within the Bapo ba Mogale Traditional Community in the North West Province, was admitted as the friend of the court this week. It is joining the matter on the side of the Department of Mineral Resources which is squaring up against the Chamber of Mines on one hand and Scholes and Another in the other hand.
The matter relates to an application to determine the proper application and interpretation of black ownership provisions of the Mining Charter.
A statement released by the the LRC says the parties have identified the following four issues to be determined by the Court:
- Does a mining company have a perpetual and recurring obligation to meet a26% ownership target after the grant of a mining right or the conversion of an old order mining right?
- Can the Minister use the enforcement powers in theMPRDA to compel compliance with the 26% target?
- How is compliance with the26% target to be calculated?
- Are the contested provisions of the Charter beyond the legal authority of the Minister?
The LRC adds that Serodumo’s submissions concentrate on the first two of the above four aspects. “Serodumo will argue that the Chamber of Mine’s contention that the empowerment provisions require only a ‘once-off’ compliance is contrary to the very purpose of the empowerment provisions to promote the achievement of equality and to protect and advance categories of persons disadvantaged by unfair discrimination.
“Rather, the empowerment provisions must be implemented to give effect to their purpose: to achieve substantive equality, which is integral to transformation as required by the Constitution.
“Serodumo submits that the present matter cannot properly be decided in isolation from the lived experiences of the mine-affected communities for whose benefit the empowerment provisions were intended.”
Scholes and another has submitted an application to have the Mining Charter declared null and void and seeks their matter to be joined with that of the chamber.