27/06/2017 06:58 SAST | Updated 27/06/2017 06:58 SAST

Chamber Of Mines Wants To Know Why Zwane Changed 'Historically Disadvantaged' To 'Black' In New Charter

The Chamber of Mines is challenging the new mining charter in court.

Mike Hutchings / Reuters

The SA Chamber of Mines wants the high court to stop the new mining charter from being implemented, questioning why the language of the charter was changed allegedly to broaden the scope of who could benefit from mining deals.

According to The Times on Tuesday, the Chamber applied to the High Court in Pretoria for an order stopping the chamber's implementation on Monday.

The Chamber described the new charter as "so confusing and confused‚ and so contradictory in its core provisions‚ that not only are the mining companies who are supposedly obliged to comply with the 2017 Charter perplexed as to what they are required to do‚ but legal experts themselves are confused and find themselves unable to provide clear advice to their mining and investment clients as to the meaning and effect of the 2017 Charter".

The Chamber accused the minister of mineral resources, Mosebenzi Zwane of "gross regulatory overreach" by demanding that foreign companies contribute 1 percent of their turnover towards the Mining Transformation and Development Agency.

"In imposing turnover tax‚ the minister has not only purported to exercise extra-territorial jurisdiction – which is clearly beyond his powers - he has also attempted to usurp the powers of the minister of finance‚" the chamber reportedly said.

The Times reported that the Chamber had questioned why Zwane changed the words "previously disadvantaged groups" to "black persons".

"He has replaced the definition of historically disadvantaged person in section 1 of the MPRDA (Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act) and the term historically disadvantaged South Africans in section 100(2)(a)...with his own definition of black persons.

"The definition of black person impermissibly widens the scope of those who may benefit from the provisions of the charter to include not only persons or communities disadvantaged by unfair discrimination before the Constitution took effect‚ but also Africans‚ Coloureds and Indians who became citizens of the Republic of South Africa by naturalisation on or after April 27 1994 and who would have been entitled to acquire citizenship by naturalisation prior to the that date.

"In other words‚ for reasons best known to himself‚ the minister‚ through the publication of the 2017 charter‚ now seeks to benefit a category of person who were never disadvantaged by unfair discrimination before the Constitution took effect‚" the chamber said.