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While committing to finalising the Mining Charter by next month (June 2018), the Minister of Mineral Resources Mr Gwede Mantashe has also urged Parliament to move faster towards passing the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development (MPRD) Bill in order to transform the mining industry and attract new investment in the country.

During the debate of his department’s budget vote in a mini-plenary of the National Assembly, the Minister said the Mining Charter was expected to be finalised and gazetted next month. “The Mining Charter, which is a tool for transformation, is a powerful pact between all stakeholders to contribute towards the achievement of an equal, non-racial and non-racist society envisaged in the Constitution.

“We aim to finalise and gazette the Mining Charter in June, having taken on board inputs and concerns from stakeholders across the country,” Mr Mantashe said.

He told Members of Parliament that the department has held consultations in five provinces where mining and labour are to be found and also established a task team, comprising all social partners, to develop a coherent vision for a competitive and sustainable industry.

The Minister wants the mining sector to increase its contribution to the country’s gross domestic product and operate optimally for the benefit of society. “It is evident that the conflict in the industry around the Mining Charter and failure to have the sector coalesce contributed to uncertainty and fear among investors. This has further been exacerbated by delays in finalising the MPRD Bill,” he said.

Mr Mantashe said the Bill, which is before the National Council of Provinces, is key to entrenching the regulatory and policy certainty necessary for investment, the attainment of sustainable growth, and development and transformation in the sector.

He also said that since South Africa is part of the global economic village, it is necessary to heed surveys from rating agencies and aim to be competitive and use competitive advantages to attract investment. “This will give us the necessary capacity to transform and meet our social labour plan commitments for community development and the improvement of the living conditions of mineworkers.”

The Minister announced that the department has been allocated a budget of R1.9 billion for the 2018/19 financial year.

African National Congress MP and member of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources Mr Imamile Pikinini said mining was a key contributor to realising the vision of the National Development Plan. He called for policy certainty in the sector.

“It is critical that we work to the best of our abilities to ensure that there is policy certainty in the mining industry. In this regard we are firmly committed to support the finalisation of the MPRD Bill and the Mining Charter this year,” said Mr Pikinini.

Mr James Lorimer of the Democratic Alliance said: “With the Bill and the Charter uncertain, there can be none of the certainty needed to attract significant new investment.”

Sakhile Mokoena
16 May 2018