JOHANNESBURG – Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has defended the new Mining Charter.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the ANC's National Policy Conference in Johannesburg, Zwane said "business should do business" and leave governing and legislative decision-making to government.
Zwane dropped a bombshell on June 15 when he announced a new Mining Charter with onerous new empowerment targets.
The Charter stipulates that local mines should be at least 30% black-owned, up from the previous requirement of 26%. In addition, mines are required to cede 1% of their annual turnover to their black economic partners.
The Chamber of Mines, which represents 90% of mining companies in South Africa, applied for an urgent court interdict to stop the implementation of the Mining Charter. The Chamber's unhappiness stems from among other things Zwane's lack of consultation with the industry.
Zwane said government will engage with the Chamber of Mines on their concerns but held a firm view that the new Charter was in accordance with ANC policy and would therefore be implemented.
He said government was partly to blame for the slow implementation of policies, as it is spending most of its time negotiating with business. "We have not been clear enough to say at a particular point we are governing, we are taking legislation that will take this country forward and business should do business ... That is why you hear the people of South Africa saying you are not delivering on your policies, because we take forever negotiating. There will never be a situation in the world where people are happy when there are changes."
#GuptaLeaks: 'I haven't seen anything'
Zwane was also asked to comment on the ANC's national executive committee's (NEC) diagnostic report presentation where ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said the series of leaked emails, dubbed#GuptaLeaks, are indicative of the extent of the family's influence on the executive and state-owned entities and that they are harming the party.
He responded, saying any "weakness" in the ANC must be tackled head-on.
"I have not seen it (the series of emails) and I can't comment. Unfortunately I was not here on day one," he said.
The leaked emails show that Zwane's CV was sent to the controversial Gupta family a month before he was appointed minister of mineral resources. The emails also revealed that Zwane took a trip to India that was paid for by the Gupta family.
The DA has asked National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete to request an ad hoc committee to specifically look into allegations against ministers, such as Zwane.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the allegations of Gupta capture against ministers Zwane, Des van Rooyen (Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs), Malusi Gigaba (Finance), Lynne Brown (Public Enterprises) and Faith Muthambi (Public Service and Administration), and the executive as a whole, demand a full investigation.
A defiant Zwane said the DA was free to report him. He said he could not refute or admit to any claims made by the DA against him because he had not seen "anything".