Zwane’s moratorium on mining licences an attempt to bully mining sector
20 July 2017
The decision by Mineral Resources Minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, to freeze the issuing of new mining and prospecting licences shows that the ANC would choose for there to be no mining activity at all, unless there is a share for its politically connected.
As it stands, the Mining Charter is a mess which was the result of disastrous unilateral decisions, and its sudden gazetting last month cost the economy R50 billion when it was introduced.
Since then, broad spectrum opposition to the Charter has forced the Minister to suspend it, pending consultations. Importantly, it is our belief that the existing Charter is massively flawed and the Minister needs to go back to the drawing board and needs to restart the process to produce an inclusive Charter which will benefit the industry instead of harm it.
The DA will therefore write to Zwane to request that he redraft the Mining Charter, so that this time, the process will be inclusive and that all stakeholders are engaged and given a fair opportunity to participate.
We will also ask the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources, Sahlulele Luzipo, to invite Zwane to Parliament so he can account for why there was no consultation previously.
However, the redrafting does not mean that issuing of new mining licences must be stopped.
Given that more than nine million South Africans are without work, closing the door on new business is irresponsible. The minister’s move will adversely impact the growth of the mining sector. It is shocking that just when South Africa should be pulling out all the stops to attract investors, Zwane is actively chasing them away.
The fact that the top official responsible for implementing this order had not even been informed of it when it was issued, shows that Zwane is acting in a dictatorial manner which is unsuitable for the office he occupies. In addition to this, the probable illegality of Zwane's order displays rank amateurism that appears more like a childish tantrum than anything else.
Yet again, the ANC has shown that it cannot and will not improve the lives of South Africans.
This moratorium will not only hit small businesses in the mining industry the hardest but will also prevent new entrants to the market. This will only put a stop to job creation as the mining industry cannot grow under these conditions.
Issued by James Lorimer, DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources, 20 July 2017