Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Mining companies’ black shareholder case in court

A court dispute between South Africa’s Chamber of Mines and the Department of Mineral Resources about black shareholdings in mining companies started on Tuesday with arguments by a third party that seeks to set aside the country’s Mining Charter.

Malan Scholes Inc., a Johannesburg-based legal firm, is asking the High Court in Pretoria to be allowed to consolidate its case with that of the chamber, arguing there are similarities between its application and that of the mines lobby. The chamber – which represents South Africa’s largest mining companies including Anglo American Plc and Glencore Plc – and the department are opposing Malan Scholes’ bid for a joint hearing.

The hearing is getting under way after the chamber asked the court to back its view that the Mining Charter stipulates companies should be credited with disposing at least of 26 percent of their assets to black investors, even if those stakes were later resold. The mines department says that companies should maintain black shareholding above the threshold at all times.

Should the cases be heard separately, another court may rule in favor of the Scholes application, which “could make a lot of the findings in the chamber application” irrelevant. This according to Leon Bekker, who appeared in court as the senior counsel for Malan Scholes. “If the charter is taken away” then the relief that the chamber is looking for won’t be necessary, he said.

Apartheid legacy
South Africa’s push for increased black ownership of the mining industry, which accounts for almost half of the country’s exports, is part of an effort to address the legacy of apartheid that locked the black majority out of key industries. The Mining Charter also sets targets for companies to boost the numbers of black people in management and improve training and benefits for communities near mines. The country is the world’s biggest source of platinum and manganese, as well as Africa’s largest gold and coal producer.

Senior counsel for the Mining Chamber Chris Loxton saif the mining group “does not want to see the charter destroyed.” 

“Scholes wants to put it to the sword,” which will create a conflict of interest between the two groups, he said.

Chief executive officer for the chamber Roger Baxter told reporters on Monday that the group is optimistic that it will resolve the dispute before the end of the year and remains open to finding a mediated settlement.

Once the parties receive feedback from the judge presiding over the case, they may continue talks “on the idea of third- party mediation,” Baxter said. “It is very feasible to see some outcomes this year. It is important to get some outcomes this year.”

The chamber’s members concluded deals worth R205-billion ($13.1-billion) since 2000 to expand black ownership, Baxter said. “We don’t think the industry has had a fair hearing on the progress that we have made,” he said. – Bloomberg

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Andre Janse Van
Guest Author
Vuuren 1
Guest Author

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Mkhize tenders resignation as Ramaphosa calls top six meeting, fueling...

Mkhize’s resignation and the top six meeting are the clearest indicators yet that Ramaphosa is intending to make a much-anticipated cabinet reshuffle

Zuma funder link in Phoenix killings

Weapons have been seized from a number of security companies owned by ANC-linked individuals who are loyal to the former president

More top stories

Markets react as Mboweni steps down in Ramaphosa cabinet reshuffle

ANC economic policy head Enoch Godongwana takes over the finance portfolio

Mkhize tenders resignation as Ramaphosa calls top six meeting, fueling...

Mkhize’s resignation and the top six meeting are the clearest indicators yet that Ramaphosa is intending to make a much-anticipated cabinet reshuffle

Zuma funder link in Phoenix killings

Weapons have been seized from a number of security companies owned by ANC-linked individuals who are loyal to the former president

ANC factions united on Zweli Mkhize

Despite agreement that it would be politically ‘unwise’ for the president to remove the health minister before the Special Tribunal makes its decision on the application by the Special Investigating Unit, he may have just done so
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×