UPDATE 2-South Africa could extend talks on proposed empowerment rules – by Zandi Shabalala (Reuters U.S. – April 22, 2016)


JOHANNESBURG, April 22 South Africa could extend consultations on a draft law opposed by mining companies that say the move to redress imbalances of the nation’s past apartheid rule would impose unfair conditions over black ownership.

Mining minister Mosebenzi Zwane announced the potential extension at a business briefing on Friday and later said that talks with the industry over the proposed changes to the Mining Charter would take place next Monday and Tuesday.

The new draft of the charter says that companies must be at least 26 percent black-owned at all times, even if some of the black shareholders choose to sell out. Mining companies argue that after they have complied with the 26 percent black empowerment rule it shouldn’t be their responsibility to monitor the ownership balance continually.

A 30-day consultation period started when the draft law was published last Friday, but the mining industry has said this is not long enough.

“Should it be necessary for us to go beyond 30 days that call will be made as the necessity arises,” Zwane said. “Rather than us complaining about time, let’s engage.”

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