04/10/2017 11:49 SAST | Updated 04/10/2017 11:50 SAST

Rip Up And Rewrite The Mining Charter, Says Mmusi Maimane

"Our regulations must be light and clear. The interpretation of rules cannot depend on the goodwill of a government official."

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
A mine shaft at Anglo American's Tumela Mine in Thabazimbi, Limpopo.

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane says the first step in fixing the country's mining sector is to "rip up" Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane's new Mining Charter.

"There are several things we must do in order to make this happen, but the most important has to do with a change of attitude," said Maimane.

He is one of the featured speakers at the 2017 Joburg Indaba, which focuses on the mining sector.

"First among these is to rip up the new Mining Charter, along with the MPRDA [Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act], and rewrite them for a modern, investor-friendly mining sector," Maimane said.

"We must accept that South Africa exists in the real world. This is a world that functions on regular market forces and doesn't owe special treatment to anyone."

The second step for the DA is providing regulatory certainty.

"Investors must have a reasonable assurance that the conditions under which they invest will be the same as when dividends begin to flow. Our regulations must be light and clear. The interpretation of rules cannot depend on the goodwill of a government official," he said.

Maimane said the industry needs an efficient and honest regulator as well as an open and transparent industry.

"We need appropriate safety regulations in the industry... We need to look at a favourable tax regime. South Africa did not build the world's deepest mines without assisting mine owners through favourable tax schemes," he said.

"We must also face the challenge of the skills shortage in the sector... We need to modernise mining in order to compete with the new industrial revolution that is upon us."

The last part of his plan was the establishing of a "bold plan" that encourages and promotes junior mining.

Maimane ripped into radical economic transformation, saying the ANC uses the term as little more than a "fig leaf for elite enrichment".

"It is a way of legislating the replacement of one elite with another. A zero-sum game that changes the owners, but where ordinary workers and ordinary communities see no change and no improvement," he said.

"When we hear a phrase like radical economic transformation, we are right to doubt the sincerity of its meaning and question the credibility of its origin."