Press Release: Serodumo sa Rona to make submissions on the empowerment obligations of mines
Published by Legal Resources Centre 15 March 2016
For Immediate Release: 15 March 2016
Today, in the Pretoria High Court, Serodumo sa Rona Community Based Organisation (Serodumo), represented by the Legal Resources Centre, was admitted as an amicus curiae in the matter of Chamber of Mines v Minister of Mineral Resources and Another (case number 41661/15).
The matter relates to an application, brought by agreement between the Chamber of Mines and the Minister of Mineral Resources (the Minister), to determine the proper application and interpretation of the empowerment provisions under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 (MPRDA) and the Broad Based Socio-Economic Empowerment Charter for the South African Mining and Minerals Industry as published in 2004, and later amended in 2010.
The parties have identified the following four issues to be determined by the Court:
Does a mining company have a perpetual and recurring obligation to meet a 26% ownership target after the grant of a mining right or the conversion of an old order mining right?
Can the Minister use the enforcement powers in the MPRDA to compel compliance with the 26% target?
How is compliance with the 26% target to be calculated?
Are the contested provisions of the Charter beyond the legal authority of the Minister?
Serodumo’s submissions concentrate on the first two of the above four aspects. Serodumo will argue that the Chamber of Mine’s contention that the empowerment provisions require only a ‘once-off’ compliance is contrary to the very purpose of the empowerment provisions to promote the achievement of equality and to protect and advance categories of persons disadvantaged by unfair discrimination. Rather, the empowerment provisions must be implemented to give effect to their purpose: to achieve substantive equality, which is integral to transformation as required by the Constitution.
Serodumo submits that the present matter cannot properly be decided in isolation from the lived experiences of the mine-affected communities for whose benefit the empowerment provisions were intended.
The Court will first be asked to decide the application to consolidate the present matter with that of Scholes and Another v Minister of Mineral Resources (case number 50642/15) which, if granted, will result in a postponement of the two cases.
Serodumo is a not-for-profit organisation based within the Bapo ba Mogale Traditional Community in the North West Province, whose objects include improving the quality of life and advancing poverty alleviation in the Bapo community; protecting and promoting the Bapo community’s socio-economic development rights regarding land and property ownership, mineral rights and beneficiation, education and related civil rights; and working in collaboration with other organisations dealing with societal development, democracy and constitutional rights. ENDS