South Africa should reopen negotiations with the mining industry on much-criticized new rules rather than rely on the courts to resolve disputes, said African National Congress Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize.
The mining industry, represented by the Chamber of Mines, and the Department of Mineral Resources are in a standoff over the Mining Charter, which puts extra levies on companies and increases black-empowerment requirements that may dilute shareholders. A judicial review, in which Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane must justify the new measures to a bench of judges, is scheduled for December.
“The whole negotiation has to be reopened,” Mkhize said in a speech at a Johannesburg mining conference Wednesday. “Working together is better to get a formula for decisions we can live with together, rather than subjecting everything to the courts.”
In a speech on Tuesday night, Zwane said the government is open to talks and that the charter is a “living document.” However, business must not seek to write legislation, he said.
While the ANC wants to create an environment conducive to growth, the mining industry must do more to transform an economy that’s “too narrow, too concentrated” towards the white minority, said Mkhize, who is seen as a potential compromise choice to succeed President Jacob Zuma as leader of South Africa’s ruling party.
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