HARARE - As the chamber of Mines submitted papers for the judicial review and setting aside of the mining charter on Tuesday, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane yesterday stuck to his guns telling the portfolio committee on mineral resources that he was not captured by the controversial Gupta family.
In the 277-page founding affidavit, the chamber said that the publication of the charter had and continued to have a disastrous effect on the mining industry.
“The shock induced in all role players within the mining industry, including financial commentators, have been so profound that an amount in excess of R50bn was wiped off the value of the market value of shares in listed mining companies upon publication thereof,” said the papers.
Zwane has been under fire from the chamber for unilaterally publishing the charter on June 15, whose full implementation would destroy the industry.
The chamber has also attacked Zwane’s credibility and for recklessly seeking to introduce a moratorium on approving new rights or amending rights. The court hearing on the review is scheduled for December.
Meanwhile, Zwane yesterday accounted on a range of allegations levelled against him by members of the opposition on state capture.
“Why is this portfolio committee interested in my meeting with one family, just one? I meet many people. In Dubai I met interesting business people, including business people from South Africa,” he said.
“I continue to consult with people who insult me every day, I meet with them because I am a leader, these people (Guptas) have never insulted me. I will never favour any business person over the other. If you want proof, ask me to give you records on Section 54 I implement them, I deal with them decisively,” said Zwane.
In terms of Section 54 of the Mine Health and Safety Act if a mine inspector has reason to believe that any occurrence, practice or condition at a mine endangers the health or safety of any person at the mine, the inspector may give any instruction necessary, including that operations at the mine or a part of the mine be halted.
According to the chamber, Zwane’s questionable history includes him becoming minister seemingly with the primary task of strong-arming Glencore, the previous owners of Optimum Coal, and conspiring with then Eskom leadership to apparently force the sale of the mine to the Gupta family.
Zwane told parliamentarians yesterday that when he was appointed as minister in 2015, one of the problems that confronted mining was that 85000 mineworkers faced the possibility of losing their jobs. Of the 85000 jobs that were on the line, there were 3000 which were “urgent”, because the Optimum mine was put under care and maintenance.
Zwane said that as minister he had travelled to Switzerland to facilitate a meeting between Glencore, owners of the Optimum mine and Gupta linked Tegeta Exploration and Resources.
“I have said before I did facilitate that the two parties talk to deal with the matter. As you know the rest is history. On my arrival, 3000 jobs were saved,” he said.