JOHANNESBURG – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Wednesday that it will be approaching the North Gauteng High Court as an intervening party, or friend of the court, in the court interdict by the Chamber of Mines against the implementation of the 2017 Reviewed Mining Charter.
The NUM said it decided to approach the court after studying the founding and responding affidavits of both the Chamber and the Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane.
“Our legal team tomorrow will be presenting to the court reasons why the union should be admitted. In our founding affidavits we have also assured the court that our participation will not delay or postpone the scheduled dates,” NUM head of transformation Luthando Brukwe said in a statement.
“Since our intervention is premised on ensuring this process is not unduly delayed, thus negatively affecting our members and who are beneficiaries of various elements in the Mining Charter.”
The Chamber filed an application in the North Gauteng High Court in June to have the Mining Charter reviewed and set aside, saying that the Charter would be harmful to the industry and the economy because of its content, as well as the vague and contradictory language employed to convey that content.
The Charter, which was gazetted in June, sets new black ownership targets for the industry, including that new mining rights holders have 30% black ownership shared amongst employees, communities and black entrepreneurs.
Zwane has already filed his answering affidavit in the North Gauteng High Court to oppose the Chamber’s urgent interdict to prevent government from implementing the Charter. The matter will be heard on Thursday and on Friday.
In July, Zwane gave a written undertaking that his department will not implement or apply the provisions of the Mining Charter in any way, pending judgement in an urgent interdict brought by the Chamber of Mines.
The NUM then expressed “shock and disappointment” by the temporary suspension of the Charter pending the outcome of the Chamber’s urgent interdict, saying that it would be exploring legal possibilities in a bid to challenge it.
Brukwe said although the NUM was not going to oppose the application by the Chamber, the union will be making critical submissions to the court which it hopes will assist the court in adjudicating this matter.
“In defence of the gains our members have benefited from in various charters like Employee Share Ownership Schemes, improved Home Ownership options and lastly, we want to also indicate the importance of this instrument (Mining Charter) in light of mining industry’s resistance to transformation and sector being not meaningful for communities and employees in general,” Brukwe said.