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Zwane: Economic transformation in mining sector cannot be delayed further

The Chamber of Mines is not happy with the revised charter which proposes that 30% of the mining sector be black owned in a year's time.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane says government and the private sector have not done enough to make sure previous mining charters were successfully implemented.

The Chamber of Mines is not happy with the revised charter which proposes that 30% of the mining sector be black owned in a year's time.

The charter has been placed on hold pending a court process.

Zwane says economic transformation in the mining sector can't be further delayed than what it has been.

“It cannot be said it’s just an aspiration because if you say it’s an aspiration it means to me in the past 23 years, this government has been lying to the black people.”

Zwane says it is time that black people participate in the country's economy.

“There is a part which forms the majority that is still left out, and we must open the door and, as the government, it is our duty because we have the key.”

The Minister says there is no indication that the new Mining Charter will have also country as investors continued to show interest in the country's' minerals even after the charter was gazetted.

“Yesterday we had investors from Russia that are coming next month with a whole lot of companies who are willing to come and work in South Africa.”

Zwane says the recent jobs blood bath in the mining sector cannot be attributed to the new contested Mining Charter.

Zwane says most of the retrenchments are in the platinum and gold sector where the mines’ lifespan has come to an end.

Most recently Bokoni Platinum mine said 2,600 people would lose their jobs while AngloGold Ashanti plans to retrench 8,000 workers.

Zwane says government is trying its best to rescue jobs where possible.

“We were engaged with a number of platinum belt where we are also going to save around 15,000 jobs.”

He has called on the private sector to also help the sector to fight its challenges of radical economic transformation.

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)