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Mining charter: Mantashe under fire for not involving mining communities

Gwede Mantashe says his department is developing a programme for consultation with communities on the charter.

FILE: Gwede Mantashe. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe has come under fire for failing to involve mining communities in talks around changes to the Mining Charter.

This is despite a court order that affected communities must be represented.

Mantashe met with business and organised labour to discuss the document over the weekend, where two teams were set up to discuss possible amendments to the charter.

The minister says consultations with communities will happen, but community members who were present at Tuesday’s briefing wanted to know why they were not invited to the initial meeting over the weekend.

Mantashe explains: “We will have meetings with communities and all stakeholders in areas of mining. We are not going to go and negotiate with communities if we own mines. We’re a regulator.”

A community member took Mantashe to task, demanding answers.

“How can he say he will invite us if he can’t invite a single network? No network was invited there.”

Mantashe says his department is developing a programme for consultation with communities on the charter, saying: "We will tell them this is the direction we are taking."

But the question remains, why can’t the affected communities be part of the process to formulate that direction?

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)