S.African labor union concerned over proposed moratorium on issuing of mining rights

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-26 22:25:22|Editor: Zhou Xin
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CAPE TOWN, July 26 (Xinhua) -- A major South African trade union on Wednesday voiced concern over the proposed moratorium on the issuing of mining and prospecting rights.

"We are of the view that such moratorium will negatively affect our members through job losses," the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said in response to Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane's intention to suspend the processing of new mining and prospecting rights applications or their renewal.

"All of this is taking place while we are faced with enormous job losses in various operations amounting to close to 20,000 affected employees," NUM national spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu said.

Zwane issued a notice on July 19, in which he invited submissions on his intention to suspend the processing of new mining and prospecting rights.

The minister set August 4 this year as the deadline for members of the public to respond to the notice.

Zwane's move "deviates from the principles and objects of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act 2002," the NUM said.

The trade union will be submitting to the Department of Mineral Resources to desist from implementing the envisaged moratorium with immediate effect, according to Mammburu.

In his notice to place a moratorium on the issuing of prospecting and mining rights, Zwane said his intention was necessitated by an urgent legal application lodged by the Chamber of Mines against him.

The Chamber applied to the North Gauteng High Court last month for an urgent interdict to prevent the government from implementing the 2017 Mining Charter which intends to increase black shareholding.

Zwane announced the Mining Charter on June 15, under which a new prospecting right must have a minimum of 50 percent plus one black person shareholding, including voting rights.

The Charter requires that a new mining right must have 30-percent black persons' shareholding from the previous 26 percent, with the 30 percent shareholding to be apportioned between employees, communities and entrepreneurs in a specific manner.

The mining sector says the Charter could destroy South Africa's mining industry while actually undermining transformation attempts.

The government announced on July 14 that it will not implement or apply the provisions of the controversial Mining Charter in any way, pending a court judgment in an urgent interdict application.

"The NUM is adamant the current impasse over the implementation of the Mining Charter has reached alarming levels, thus calling on the government either through the Presidential Mining Consultative Forum or other multi-stakeholder initiates to convene an urgent meeting of all stakeholders in order to find an amicable solution that includes inclusive transformation of the industry with employees and communities," Mammburu said.