The Minister of the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), Mosebenzi Zwane, has written to the Chamber of Mines to advise that the implementation of the new Mining Charter will be suspended until such time as the courts rule on the interdict seeking its suspension.
In other words, the implementation is suspended until the court rules on the Chamber of Mines’ urgent interdict to have it suspended for the duration it will take to have the charter reviewed by the courts. In return, the chamber has granted the lawyers representing the DMR more time to file their responding papers to the urgent interdict that was to be heard on the July 18.
On Thursday, Moneyweb reported that finance minister Malusi Gigaba wanted to get the parties back to the negotiating table to thrash out issues surrounding the new charter, which has prompted the chamber to bring three separate legal motions against the DMR.
Chamber of Mines CEO Roger Baxter, says nothing else has changed in their attitude toward the charter other than agreeing to push the dates out to September in return for implementation being suspended. “The damage that has been caused is so significant that we want to have this sorted out one way or the other – either by having a court rule on the matter or by negotiating a workable solution with the DMR.”
“I think it’s a gesture of good faith by the minister and one of the most positive developments of the last few months,” is how Warren Beech, head of Mining at law firm Hogan Lovells characterised the move by minister Mosebenzi Zwane.
“It buys the DMR two months to assess their options. I think political pressure is being brought to bear on him, and I think there are a number of constitutional and company law issues in the charter that makes the chamber’s case very strong. So he would be loath to risk taking a knock in the courts over them. But I think it’s a great opportunity for the two parties to come back to the negotiating table,” says Beech.
The rand strengthened immediately on the back of the news – moving below R13.16 to the US dollar.