Court to hear South Africa's black ownership rule case

March 31, 2015

South Africa’s government and the mining industry have not come to a consensus regarding the mandated target of 26 percent black ownership of mine and is now turning to the courts to sort it out, South African mines minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi said.

Ramatlhodi made the comments as he disclosed an “interim report” on the government’s assessment of how the mining industry has complied with the targets set out for it in a charter aimed at redressing the imbalances of white apartheid rule which ended two decades ago, Reuters reported.

The main sticking point is the industry contention that once a company is 26 percent black-owned, it has effectively complied, even if some of the black shareholders then sell out. The government says companies must retain the 26 percent ratio.

Failure to meet the targets can result in mining permits or rights being revoked.

“That’s the principle one that is under contestation,” Ramatlhodi said in response to questions.

But he said his ministry and the industry in the world’s top platinum producer had agreed on most other targets laid out in the charter. The government has been auditing mining houses with an eye to charter compliance.

The minister also said about 20 percent of South Africa’s mining companies had not provided details about their compliance with the charter but they were mostly smaller players.

Social and labor plans, training programs and the demographic composition of boards and management teams are all part of the charter.
 

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