Trade union Solidarity on Wednesday said the mining sector’s quest for policy certainty will receive a huge boost if Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe’s proposal to withdraw the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) Amendment Bill is implemented.
Business Day reported that Mantashe wants to withdraw the MPRDA Amendment Bill, which has been stuck in the National Council of Provinces for months. According to the publication, Mantashe told Parliament’s Mineral Resources Portfolio Committee that the Bill should be withdrawn.
Solidarity general secretary Gideon du Plessis said the Amendment Bill has created uncertainty in the mining sector since 2013, and that its withdrawal, as well as the proposed finalisation of the Mining Charter before the end of the year, will remove a huge obstacle preventing growth in the sector.
“At retrenchment consultations and wage negotiations, trade unions constantly have to hear that the low commodity prices, uncertain regulatory environment and high electricity tariffs are the reasons behind a retrenchment or a low wage increase. The removal of these regulatory restrictions will therefore be a huge boost for the industry,” he explained.
Solidarity calls on Cabinet and political parties to support Mantashe’s proposal and to immediately repeal the Amendment Bill.
According to Du Plessis, the Minerals Council South Africa has indicated on many occasions that mining houses would actualise expansions and developments worth billions that could lead to the creation of thousands of jobs, provided that the relevant legislation protects and promotes their investment.
“If Mantashe can follow the same pragmatic approach as far as the Mining Charter is concerned by removing the restrictive barbs the charter still contains so that government, the mining houses, communities and trade unions can agree on its content, then Eskom tariffs would be the remaining major headache,” Du Plessis said.