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Zwane has 14 days to explain failure to file answering affidavit

High Court Judge Ramarumo Monama has criticised Zwane for showing disrespect to the court and the Constitution, saying his actions damaged the country’s brand.

FILE: Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has been given 14 days to explain to a court why he failed to file an answering affidavit to the Chamber of Mines’ request for an interdict of his plans to impose a moratorium on granting and renewing mining rights.

High Court Judge Ramarumo Monama has criticised Zwane for showing disrespect to the court and the Constitution, saying his actions damaged the country’s brand.

Although the minister said last month that he intended to suspend the granting of applications for prospective and mining rights, he announced on Thursday night that based on various submissions from industry players, he will not go ahead with the moratorium.

The Chamber of Mines was in court on Friday seeking an urgent interdict to Zwane’s proposed moves but the Minister himself failed to file an answering affidavit, despite having filed a motion to oppose the court action.

He also failed to formally inform the court that he has now decided to withdraw the planned moratorium despite announcing this decision in a statement on Thursday night.

The Chamber of Mines’ Dr Elize Strijdom said: “We have to pick up his latest intentions through Twitter and media statements and that’s just simply not the way to do things. And that’s why I think the judge was so scathing this morning. Because It shows a total disregard of court processes and proceedings.”

The judge expressed outrage that in the midst of a jobs bloodbath in the mining sector the minister has failed to communicate his decision to court, adding that Zwane showed a total disregard of court processes.

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)