Government will this year intensify its engagements with all stakeholders on the revised Mining Charter to ensure that it is truly an effective instrument to sustainably transform the face of mining in South Africa.
“By working together, in a genuine partnership, underscored by trust and a shared vision, I am certain we will be able to resolve the current impasse and agree on a Charter that both accelerates transformation and grows this vital sector of our economy,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said.
Last year, the Department of Mineral Resources amended the Mining Charter to strengthen and refine its effectiveness in driving economic transformation and competitiveness in the mining sector.
Following the amendment, the Chamber of Mines approached the high court to review the Mining Charter. The matter will now be heard from the 19th to 21st February 2018.
Delivering the State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Friday evening, President Ramaphosa said that mining has massive unrealised potential for growth and job creation.
“We need to see mining as a sunrise industry. With the revival in commodity prices, we are determined to work with mining companies, unions and communities to grow the sector, attract new investment, create jobs and set the industry on a new path of transformation and sustainability,” he said.
He said the processing of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) Amendment Bill through both houses of parliament is at an advanced stage, with an indication by Parliament that the Bill will reasonably be finalised during the first quarter of 2018.
“The Bill, once enacted into law, will entrench existing regulatory certainty, provide for security of tenure and advance the socio-economic interests of all South Africans.”
President Ramaphosa expressed his concern on the rise in mining fatalities last year.
“We call on mining companies to work together with all stakeholders to ensure that mine accidents are dramatically reduced. One mining fatality is one too many,” he said.
According to the President, the growth of the country’s economy will be sustained by small businesses.
“It is our shared responsibility to grow this vital sector of the economy. We will work with our social partners to build a small business support ecosystem that assists, nourishes and promotes entrepreneurs,” he said.
Additionally, government will honour its undertaking to set aside at least 30 percent of public procurement to Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) cooperatives and township and rural enterprises.
“We will continue to invest in small business incubation. We encourage business to do the same,” President Ramaphosa said.
He said the establishment through the CEOs Initiative of a small business fund – which currently stands at R1.5 billion – is an outstanding example of the role that the private sector can play.
President Ramaphosa said government will reduce the regulatory barriers for small businesses.
“We are also working to expand economic opportunities for people with disabilities.
“Among other things, the Small Enterprise Finance Agency – SEFA – has launched a scheme to develop and fund entrepreneurs with disabilities called the Amavulandlela Funding Scheme,” he said.
Government is also finalising a small business and innovation fund targeted at start-ups.