Mining Charter must make real life difference for affected communities

Posted on:
18 Mar 2016
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Community
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Ujuh Reporter

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.

news@ujuh.co.za

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