Zwane fails to say SA is open for business

Jonathan Veeran, partner and deputy head of Webber Wentzel’s mining sector group, was disappointed with Mineral Resources Minister, Mosebenzi Zwane’s speech at the opening of Mining Indaba 2018.

“It was a missed opportunity to state that South Africa is open for business. I can only assume that Minister Zwane could not say that because of the political impasse that we are facing as a country,” Veeran says.

Jonathan Veeran, partner and deputy head of
Webber Wentzel.
Image credit: Webber Wentzel

Key elements that were not addressed in Minister Zwane’s Mining Indaba speech include:

  • Policy uncertainty - Mining Charter III is pending and produces own-risk provisions for mining companies, creating no obligations for government, in particular. 
  • There seems to be no tie-in between government departments such as the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Economic Development. 
  • Unclear regulation and legislation - the MPRDA Amendment Bill has been in the pipeline since 2013, with absolutely no traction.

He also added that the industry is left in a state of limbo as no forward planning can be done. “The laws can change at any given time, which is further exacerbated by inconsistent application of legislation and regulation.  Labour, business, communities and government are also not constructively engaging each other, which has led to a trust deficit in the industry that has become pronounced in the past five years,” says Veeran.

In Veeran’s view, building a prosperous mining industry in South Africa, requires a social compact between key role players. “The three key themes that the minister should have spoken to are the resolution on Mining Charter III, inter-governmental department cooperation and clarity on regulation and legislation, which are critical to getting South Africa's mining industry back on track, yet none of these aspects where addressed in any shape or form,” Veeran concludes.

Watch Veeran’s views on Minister Zwane’s speech:

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