19/02/2018 06:42 SAST | Updated 19/02/2018 06:42 SAST

Ramaphosa Opens Talks With Industry Over Mining Charter

Ramaphosa and the mining industry are trying to break the impasse over the Mining Charter, and Zwane is out of the loop.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane (R) looks on during the reopening of the Highveld Steel heavy structural mill at Emalahleni in Mpumalanga province, South Africa June 6, 2017.

A court case over the controversial mining charter has been postponed after President Cyril Ramaphosa stepped in, Fin24 reported. In a statement on Sunday, Ramaphosa reportedly said that the Chamber of Mines, which wanted to take the charter on judicial review, and government had entered into negotiations to resolve the impasse.

And in what appears to be an indication that he will be axed from Cabinet, Mining Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has been excluded from the process, Business Day reported.

The court case was due to begin on Monday.

According to Fin24, the Chamber reportedly said it was open to negotiations.

"The Presidency has indicated that the president is committed to resolving the impasse over the Mining Charter and to facilitate a process of developing a new Mining Charter, inclusive of all stakeholders and in the interests of the industry and the country as a whole.

"In line with the spirit and the tone of the message as stated by the President during [his state of the nation address] on February 16, the Chamber of Mines is agreeable to the request by the Presidency to give negotiations a chance," the body said in a statement.

The charter, gazetted last year, requires companies to achieve 30 percent black ownership in a year and forcing them to pay 1 percent turnover to their empowerment partners, amongst a host of other rules, according to Daily Maverick. The Chamber called the charter "unconstitutional" and "stupefying".

While Zwane has said he is open to talks, he has also defended the charter. Chamber of Mines CEO Roger Baxter said last year that the industry had lost faith in Zwane.

Business Day reported on Monday that Zwane has now been sidelined from talks with the Chamber, in what appears to indicate that he will be axed from Ramaphosa's cabinet.

The Chamber's head of transformation, Tebello Chabana told Business Day that the chamber had not raised the issue of Zwane with the presidency, adding that his removal was "not a primary issue for us", but that it wanted to start a process with all stakeholders "to come up with something new".