Minister cannot withdraw mines’ licenses over BEE

2014-07-04
Adv Anton Alberts

The state cannot just arbitrarily withdraw mining licenses if mines do not meet the targets set for transformation in the mining charter, Adv. Anton Alberts, the FF Plus’ parliamentary spokesperson on minerals says.

He said the threat of Ngoako Ramathlodi, the minister of mineral resources, that he would withdraw licences, is not the manner in which a responsible minister should be acting in this regard.

According to media report, Ramathlodi said the mining charter sets certain transformation targets and the licences is a weapon in his hand which he would use if necessary. The mining charter, which sets certain transformation targets, is currently being reviewed.

Adv. Alberts says South Africa is a constitutional democracy and no power, such as the cancelling of licenses, can be exercised without it being allowed by legislation.

“There are no legal principles to arbitrarily withdraw the licences, because companies can choose whether they wish to adhere to the BEE Act. It is not compulsory to adhere to this legislation.

“The current codes which were released by the minister of trade and industry are however so draconian that many companies will just give up trying to meet the requirements and this could include mines.

“Making threats is the wrong way to try and manage the mining sector. All interested parties and role players should rather come together to work out a balance between the interests of the owners of mines and workers so that another Marikana does not take place again.

“Ways in which communities are empowered should be found in areas where mines operate. This could take place through share-holding and town and entrepreneurial development as is currently the case at Kumba’s mine in Sishen,” Adv. Alberts says.

 

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