The new mining charter published by Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane should be applauded for moving towards placing the country’s mineral resources to the majority.
This is according to economic analyst, Vivian Atud. Atud says radical economic transformation cannot happen when the majority still does not have access to the country’s resources.
“We cannot be in an economy where over 80% of the population is black but they struggle to have access to 30% of the mining sector,” says Atud.
The new charter, published earlier this month, demands that a holder of new mining rights have minimum of 30% black ownership, an increase from 26%. The charter also demands that a holder of new prospecting rights have a minimum of 50% + 1 black person shareholding which include voting rights, per prospecting right or in the company which holds the right. The charter comes just as the African National Congress (ANC) is to hold its national policy conference and some within the ruling party have been calling for nationalisation of mines. The ANC has until now opted for increased influence in sectors such as mining and banking instead of nationalisation.
Atud says the mining sector remains a very important sector of the economy and it must be transformed to benefit the majority.
“Any attempts to improve transformation and any attempts to benefit the majority should be applauded,” says Atud.
She says the problem is not in what the charter says but implementation. She says if such policies are to benefit the majority, corruption must be dealt with and there must be different forms of ownership.
“We should look at different forms of ownership like employee ownership schemes and community ownership. That would create a more radical transformative environment and go much further that having a few BEE individuals benefit,” says Atud.
– By Mamaponya Motsai