South Africa to appeal court ruling on black mine ownership

South Africa is set to appeal two court rulings that struck down changes to rules requiring mining firms to be at least 26% owned by Black investors in perpetuity and declared it unlawful for payouts to the coronavirus-struck tourism industry to be limited to Black businesses.

President Cyril Ramaphosa gave the undertaking during a meeting with business lobby groups this week, where concerns around efforts to revive the economy were discussed, according to Kganki Matabane, the chief executive officer of the Black Business Council.

The government and miners had been at loggerheads over a previous version of the charter, which the Chamber of Mines industry body slammed as confusing and a threat to South Africa’s image with investors. The presidency confirmed the meeting took place, while refusing to elaborate on what was discussed.

New draft charter

“The president met with representatives of organized business this week to discuss more effective cooperation and coordination between government business and other social partners,” presidential spokesperson Tyrone Seale said.

Newly appointed Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe said the key to regain investors and miners confidence in the South Africa’s mining sector was to finalize revised plans for black ownership in the industry. The new draft charter extends to five years from one year the time that existing mining permit holders will have to meet the new black ownership requirement. It also addresses a dispute over companies that were not recognized as having complied with black empowerment rules under the previous version of the charter, even when that was the result of a black investor selling shares.

Mining in South Africa was once the main driving force behind the history and development of Africa’s most advanced and richest economy. Large-scale and profitable mining started with the discovery of a diamond on the banks of the Orange River in 1867 by Erasmus Jacobs and the subsequent discovery and exploitation of the Kimberley pipes a few years later.


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