A third version of the Mining Charter may be ready by next week, says Gwede Mantashe
It remains to be seen what changes will be made to the final charter Mantashe will present to Ramaphosa on Monday
The third iteration of the Mining Charter will be completed by Monday and will be presented to President Cyril Ramaphosa early next week and debated in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, ahead of its implementation, says mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe.
Mantashe has also taken a swipe at energy minister Jeff Radebe for wanting to have the bill amending the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) expedited, saying it is a decision that rests with him alone.
After extending the public comment period on the draft charter to the end of August, 126 more submissions were made and these have been considered, he said, adding that his team has been "locked in a room" for five days, and will be over the weekend, to completely finalise the document for Monday.
"After [the cabinet meeting], we are running," Mantashe said on the sidelines of a mining technology exhibition.
The third version of the charter has been extensively debated since Mantashe was appointed mineral resources minister in February, replacing the discredited Mosebenzi Zwane, who oversaw an initial version of the third charter that was roundly criticised by mining companies, investors and lawyers.
Mantashe has used that draft charter as the basis for talks since February, drawing on the comments from the Minerals Council SA (the former Chamber of Mines), labour and communities, as well as financial institutions.
The draft version Mantashe put into the market in June, on the one-year anniversary of Zwane’s document, was regarded as an improvement, but still considered deeply flawed by the Minerals Council SA, with a 10% free-carry stake to be shared between labour and communities as part of their 16% stake in mining companies and projects.
The draft also proposed a trickle dividend of 1% from the operating profit line, which was also picked out as problematic by the council.
It remains to be seen what changes will be made to the final charter Mantashe will present to Ramaphosa on Monday, and when it will be made public.
Mantashe said he would, at the same cabinet meeting on Wednesday, propose scrapping the long-delayed and problematic bill amending the MPRDA, allowing for the separation of the oil and gas sectors in the act and putting them into their own act.
Mantashe has already made public his desire to scrap the bill. "We’ve had a very positive response to that proposal. Anybody who is negative about that proposal will be someone with a different interest. For us to ensure there is certainty in policy and regulation, we must do it."
Asked about recent comments from energy minister Jeff Radebe that he wanted the amendment bill in its current form expedited, Mantashe dismissed the comments out of hand. "He ran short of [the] courtesy of confirming with me. It’s my space and I’m the last person to make the call."