It might seem churlish to complain about a Mining Charter process that now looks likely to achieve long-awaited consensus, but the degree of executive activism envisaged by Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe is dismaying. The industry has long sought regulatory certainty and has on many occasions and in many guises stated that it does not need an optimal investment climate, only a predictable one. Under Mantashe, it may not get either. In response to the High Court ruling — that the "once empowered, always empowered" principle must prevail — Mantashe has declared that "we are not in support of a blanket recognition of past deals". He wants "each case to be assessed on its own merits" and, ominously, has stated that the department is prepared to go to court "every day" to do this. It seems that Mantashe’s perception of the nature of a mining minister’s job is to run the entire sector in a continuously engaged hands-on manner. In organisational life, this is called micro-managi...

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