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Chamber of Mines threatens Zwane with more court action over mining charter

The Chamber of Mines’ Dr Elize Strijdom says if the minister breaches that order, they will drag him back to court.

FILE: Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane addresses the first day of the Mining Indaba 2016 conference in Cape Town. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – The Chamber of Mines has threatened Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane with more court action if he fails to stick to his undertaking to scrap a planned moratorium on new mining and prospective rights.

The minister announced the withdrawal in a statement on Thursday night, but he was strongly criticised by the high court in Pretoria on Friday for not officially informing it of his decision.

The court on Friday heard the Chamber’s application to stop the moratorium and the judge in the matter also slammed Zwane for not filing an answering interdict, saying he had disrespected court processes.

Given that the minister’s media statement cancelling the planned moratorium doesn’t constitute a formal withdrawal, his legal council and the chamber of mines on Friday agreed that his undertaking be made an order of the court.

The Chamber of Mines’ Dr Elize Strijdom says if the minister breaches that order, they will drag him back to court.

“But should he not adhere to that then this application for urgent relief that we had filed with the court, we can bring back to court.”

On Friday, Judge Ramarumo Monama criticised Zwane for disrespecting the court and the Constitution, saying his actions damaged the country’s brand.

He gave the minister 14 days to explain why he failed to file an answering affidavit to the Chamber of Mines request for an interdict.

ZWANE GIVEN 14 DAYS

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.

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.

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.

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 Leeto M Khoza)