Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has filed his answering affidavit in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in regards to the Mining Charter.
Zwane was criticised last week for failing to file an answering affidavit in another matter brought by the Chamber of Mines regarding new mining rights. In that instance, Zwane was given another 14 days to reply to the chamber’s request for an interdict of his plans to impose a moratorium on granting and renewing mining rights. In the Mining Charter matter, Zwane said that every complaint of the applicant (the chamber) in respect of the charter was, in essence, an attempt to block effective and meaningful participation of black South Africans in the mining and minerals industry.
“The opening statement made by the applicant in its founding affidavit is that it is committed to ensuring transformation in the mining industry and supports the objectives of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA). “The answering affidavit filed by the respondent (the department) today proves that the contrary is true. “The Mining Charter was never meant to be an ‘aspirational document’ as is suggested by the applicant. “The intention was that, over time, as it was discovered that some aspects of the charter worked and others did not, the minister could – effectively and relatively expeditiously – give effect to section 100(2) and some of the key objects of the MPRDA,” Zwane said.
The act “very clearly empowers the minister … to develop a charter, and that this legislative instruction bears legal consequences which follow the development of the charter by the minister”. This affidavit was also late and was due on July 31. One of the reasons given for missing the deadline was that the minister was on a business trip on the continent.