Minister wants more black ownership of mines

Minister of Mineral Resources Susan Shabangu on Wednesday was adamant that 26% of mines should be black-owned by 2014.

Signing a mining transformation and sustainable growth declaration in Pretoria on Wednesday, Shabangu said the target had to be met.

She said only 9% of last year’s 15% target had been reached. The industry had to explain why.

“We cannot have … an industry controlled by a Mickey Mouse. We have to be serious. One of the things we are going to do is increase monitoring and evaluation,” she said.

A name and shame policy would also be adopted, Shabangu said, describing transformation as a “process, not an event”.

“Meaningful participation of historically disadvantaged South Africans means, among others, that ownership shall vest within the prescribed timeframes, taking into account prevailing market conditions.”

Other areas to be addressed
Other areas which had to be addressed were tokenism in black economic empowerment contracts, community empowerment projects and skills shortages.

Housing and working conditions were a key problem, she said urging managers to step into labourers’ shoes to understand their plight.

“Living and housing conditions for many workers in the mining industry have been of a sub-standard nature, thereby adversely impacting on the health, productivity and social well-being of workers.”

Shabangu said that the goal of creating single quarters by 2014 was unacceptable. “It must happen tomorrow”.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) agreed with the minister saying health safety and the health of the workers was paramount.

Patience is waning
“We can’t continue to count the dead,” said NUM president Sipho Zokwana. “Our patience is waning.”

Chamber of Mines president Sipho Nkosi said the signing of the declaration was the result of a joint effort to limit the obstacles
the mining industry faced.

These included competition in the global market and the power supply.

“It was acknowledged that while the industry had limited capacity to rapidly resolve our country’s electricity problems or its transport challenges, there were nevertheless many positive achievements.” — Sapa

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