Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. Picture: TREVOR  SAMSON
Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane filed an answering affidavit on Monday, challenging the contentions made by the Chamber of Mines in its challenge to halt the third version of the Mining Charter and have it legally reviewed.

Having missed a deadline on July 31 to file his affidavit and having been rebuked by Judge Ramarumo Monama last Friday for not filing an affidavit in another case, Zwane lodged his affidavit in the High Court in Pretoria on Monday, the department said in a statement.

Zwane said he was out of the country the weekend ahead of July 31 along with key departmental figures and that the chamber’s affidavit needed a complex answer.

"The answering affidavit deals decisively with a number of fallacies — pronounced as truth — by the applicant," the department said.

"The answering affidavit demonstrates that every complaint of the applicant in respect of the Mining Charter is, in essence, an attempt to block effective and meaningful participation of black persons in the mining and minerals industry."

The chamber declined to comment, saying neither it nor its legal representatives had been served the answering affidavit and "nor had it been filed with the high court."

The chamber argued in its founding affidavit, which prompted Zwane to delay the implementation of the charter he gazetted on June 15, that the minister was acting outside the powers granted to him in the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act and had violated the Promotion of Administration Justice Act in drawing up the third charter.

The chamber maintained it was barely consulted as the major stakeholder in implementing the charter, which increased black ownership levels of mining companies to 30% from 26% within 12 months of the charter coming into effect as well as levying a 1% charge against the revenue line to pay empowerment partners, putting them ahead of other shareholders and violating the Companies Act.

"The department had devoted considerably more time, energy and resources to dealing with the applicant and its concerns than any other stakeholder in the industry," it said.

The department said Zwane argued he was within his rights in terms of the act to draw up a charter to meet the transformational objectives of the act. The charter had to be fluid to change with developments within the industry.

The department said there was no need for an interim interdict because "allegations of reasonable apprehension of harm are overstated" and that the chamber’s complaint of R50bn wiped off mining stocks on June 15 when the charter was gazetted was not valid.

seccombea@bdfm.co.za

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