Mining Indaba: 'Minister Zwane missed the opportunity to attract investors'

By Janice Roberts

Trade union Solidarity today said that in his opening address at the annual Mining Indaba in Cape Town, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane missed out on an opportunity to attract investors, and in so doing curb job losses in the mining sector.

“As was the case last year, the minister committed his department to dates by which the revised mining charter and the Mining and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) have to be finalised, but their content is still shrouded in uncertainty. With the Charter due to be published in March 2017 and the Act being finalised in June 2017, that is according to the minister, there is still concern about the new types of taxes contained in the first version of the Charter which would place a major financial burden on employers, ultimately resulting in lower wage increases and more retrenchments,” Solidarity General Secretary Gideon du Plessis said.

According to Du Plessis, people are still in the dark about the unrealistic appointment figures for, inter alia, middle management posts, 88% of which have to be black appointments – a doubling of the guideline contained in the previous charter – and whether those have been revisited. “While there is now clarity about the date on which the charter and the legislation would be finalised, their content is of much greater importance because that is what will determine whether mining in South Africa will be a sunrise or a sunset industry,” Du Plessis said.

“Minister Zwane used the old cliché that mining in South Africa was open for business while he, with his vague speech, had actually slammed the door in investors’ faces himself,” Du Plessis explained.

“It is high time to replace the government’s ideological impairment with reality. At the moment, the uncertain regulatory framework filled with socialist rhetoric, especially with regard to property rights, ownership and mineral rights, is the main reason that jobs are destroyed while the unemployed and low-income groups that should benefit from growth in the mining industry, together with the rest of the country, are paying the price for a shrinking mining sector.

Later this afternoon, Solidarity will host a presentation for investors about the state of labour relations in South Africa.

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