Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS
Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

Consultation on the revised Mining Charter was at an advanced stage, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.

The president also condemned land occupation.

"Government has paid particular attention to engagements with affected communities across the country, convinced that consensus and collaboration are crucial for the growth and development of this industry," Ramaphosa said during a heated debate on the Presidency budget, when the EFF walked out of Parliament.

The debate was inevitably dominated by the land question and illegal land occupation.

EFF members left the chamber after deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli objected to party leader Julius Malema’s calls for landless people to occupy "unoccupied land".

The government is engaged in tough talks with mining-industry stakeholders and mining communities on the revised Mining Charter after a version tabled in 2017 prompted legal challenges from the industry.

Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that the government would remove what is known as the Gupta clause from the charter, which includes naturalised citizens in the group of people who should benefit from attempts to more evenly redistribute mineral wealth.

Among the criticisms of the 2017 charter was its recognition of black and other historically disadvantaged people who had taken citizenship after being in SA for long enough, according to the Bloomberg report.

"While there are still some critical issues that need attention, we are certain that the charter, once finalised, will balance the need for meaningful transformation in the sector with the need to increase investment, employment and sustainability," Ramaphosa said.

He also said the Cabinet would soon be finalising policy on allocation of high-demand radio frequency spectrum.

Through the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission, the government was working to ensure that substantial investment in social and economic infrastructure contributed to job creation, industrialisation and transformation.

"We have made significant progress over nearly 25 years to develop and transform our economy," Ramaphosa said.

"However, our economy remains characterised by the structural flaws of a racist and patriarchal past.

"Millions remain outside of productive economic activity, unable to contribute, unable to benefit. The majority of these people are young," he said.

"We condemn the illegal occupation of land. We are working also to accelerate the process of agrarian reform, bringing more poor and black people into productive agricultural activity and expanding the country’s agricultural output," the president said.

phakathib@businesslive.co.za