Susan Shabangu says 26 percent of ownership should be in black hands by 2014
PRETORIA (Reuters) - South Africa plans to retain the previous mining charter's target of transferring 26 percent of mine ownership to black people by 2014 in its efforts to reverse imbalances caused by discrimination during apartheid.
The government said in April it would endorse a new mining charter -- which oversees the mining industry -- in May, but Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said the charter had not been adopted to allow more engagement with industry.
"The 26 percent target is confirmed for 2014," Shabangu said on Wednesday.
"The process of the review (for the charter) has happened, so we will be releasing the results in August. The results will determine whether we amend or not," she said.
"It's the process of engagement," she said, when asked what had caused the delay to adopt the mining charter.
Shabangu and South African mining executives signed a document -- the mining industry strategy for sustainable growth and meaningful transformation -- which sets out a strategy to enhance transformation or ownership of mines by black people.
The revised plans will seek to speed up black ownership, skills development, employment equity, procurement, housing and living conditions, and mining beneficiation.
PACE OF REFORMS
The government stuck with the previous mining charter's target of transferring 26 percent of mine ownership to black people by 2014, but said it had agreed with industry certain measure to raise the pace for implementing reforms to allow for more black involvement in mining.
She said plans to raise black mine ownership had been implemented very slowly both by foreign mine owners and black people who were forming companies merely to profit from the programme instead of mining for metals.
"The 15 percent (black ownership) target for 2009 was missed and there is now an opportunity for the industry to make up for that," Shabangu said.
Shabangu said the government had agreed with industry to speed up implementation of black ownership, employment equity immediately following delays to do so in the past, blaming both the mine owners and black investors for the delays.
She said the fault also lay with black investors who establish companies in order to make quick profits without any intention of exploiting minerals.
"There are instances where BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) transactions are being put together merely for incorporating blacks as tokens," she said.
The new document showed the mining industry had agreed to allow black investors to have voting rights and also to seek greater access from banks for black people to get funds to grow mines.
POST SENT BY: KVB 21126