Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said government had failed to use the mining sector to effect transformation in the country’s economy.

Addressing the Black Business Council at a round table event this week in Sandton, Radebe said though mining’s share of GDP had declined, it remained an important tool in government hands.

“Mining is still a strategic sector. You cannot think of South Africa without mining,” he said, adding that the revised Mining Charter would be finalised and released for public comment soon.

The Mining Charter is provided for by section 100 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act to facilitate transformation of the mining industry and, according to Radebe, it has given more power to government to effect change.

Radebe also urged business to not be a bystander and to push government to implement existing policies.

“The National Development Plan is not a government-only plan; it’s for the entire country. That is why we want active citizenry to be part of it. We want the Black Business Council and other organisations to hold us accountable,” he said.

“Black people do not benefit from mineral resources, which are overwhelmingly owned by large, white-owned companies.

The top 49 listed mining companies have a combined market capitalisation of R2.6 trillion.

If all the top 49 listed mining companies had 26% historically disadvantaged ownership as required by the Mining Charter, the value of black empowerment participation would have been R669 billion in 2014,” Radebe said, pointing out that, to date, only 2.5% (R63.9 billion) of the 49 top companies belong to black people.

Radebe, who also sits in the national working committee of the ANC, shied away from delving into details of his opinions on the possible reasons for South Africa’s recent credit downgrade, with his only mention being in the opening address of his presentation where he simply said the economy and politics had become intertwined.

In his presentation, Radebe also said the financial services sector remained the most untransformed with almost no existence of major black players and that the transfer of land had also been slow.

Among the panellists during the event were Statistician-General Pali Lehohla and acting director-general in the ministry of monitoring and evaluation Tshediso Matona.

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