Photo: Reuters
Politically connected businessman Thulani Ngubane, and Zondwa Mandela, grandson of the late President Nelson Mandela, are planning to establish a new mining organisation that will champion the cause of entrepreneurs and communities following the gazetting of the reviewed Mining Charter.

Ngubane said he and Mandela, who were both former directors of Aurora Empowerment Systems and were accused of running Pamodzi’s Grootvlei and Orkney Mines into the ground, were scheduled to launch the South African Miners Association in Johannesburg on Thursday.

Ngubane said on Friday the association, whose objective was to promote the reviewed charter, was expected to have a presence in all nine provinces.

“Through the charter, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has given the mining industry a new lease on life.

"This charter will help to alleviate poverty in mining communities,” he said.

The association would also help educate communities and business on how to structure empowerment deals. “We plan to go to mining communities across the country to encourage people to organise themselves. "We are going to communities to say you have to form a structure and you need to know exactly how your community is participating in the mine ownership ” he said.

Ngubane added that he had also approached funding agencies to help new entrants to the mining industry.

BLACK PARTICIPATION

“We are talking to the Public Investment Corporation and the Industrial Development Corporation."We need to ensure that there is money available for black people to participate in mining,” he said. The association is being established against the backdrop of the fallout between the Chamber of Mines and the government over the implementation of the charter, with the chamber planning to approach the court today to have the charter set aside. The department earlier this month gazetted the Broad-Based Black Socio-Economic Empowerment Charter for the South African Mining and Minerals Industry, 2017.

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It stipulates a 30percent black shareholding in mining companies plus a corresponding percentage of voting rights from the current 26percent level.

The 30percent must be split three ways - 8percent for communities, 8percent for employees and 14percent for black entrepreneurs. “We are not interested in shady deals. We want people to understand how empowerment deals are formulated,” he said.“We want those who will acquire mines to know how they will pay back the money to funders,” he added.

However, Blessings Ramoba, a mining activist and founder of the Mining Forum of South Africa, said the timing of the charter was not right because of the current economic situation. “We are not against the charter. It will help if we can wait for the economic crisis to pass before it is implemented,” he said.

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