Mosebenzi Zwane. Picture: GCIS
Mosebenzi Zwane. Picture: GCIS

On the eve of an urgent interdict against the latest Mining Charter, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane reached an agreement with the Chamber of Mines to wait for a judicial review in December rather than appear in court on Thursday.

This is the second time that Zwane and his legal team have avoided confronting the chamber in court, with a last-minute withdrawal of plans to impose a moratorium on approvals of new and transferred mining rights.

In early August, Judge Ramarumo Monama tore strips off Zwane for the cavalier way he had treated court processes in not properly notifying the judge or the chamber directly of the intention to withdraw the planned moratorium.

The latest stand-down came as the parties were to meet in the High Court in Pretoria to hear the chamber’s urgent bid to interdict the third version of the charter, which the minister has suspended.

Zwane’s legal counsel approached the chamber to reach an agreement to maintain the suspension of the charter until judgment is delivered after a legal review by a full bench of judges in December.

Zwane’s legal counsel agreed that neither Zwane nor anyone in the Department of Mineral Resources would directly or indirectly apply provisions of the third charter.

To avoid the confusion Zwane created during a speech to delegates at the Africa Down Under mining conference in Australia last week in which he said the charter was law, the agreement his lawyers struck with the chamber noted the minister would refer to the review of the charter and its suspension in any public utterances about the document.

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