PRETORIA, The Minister of Mineral Resources, Mosebenzi Zwane, has been given 14 days to explain to the High Court in Pretoria why he failed to submit an affidavit responding to the Chamber of Mines' interdict to prohibit the Minister from implementing a moratorium on proposed new mining rights.
In July this year, the Ministry of Mineral Resources gazetted a new regulation, seeking to put restrictions on the transfer of mineral rights between companies. The Chamber of Mines opposed the moratorium, saying it would effectively freeze investments, prevent many companies from restructuring and may lead to even more job losses in the sector.
The Chamber last week lodged an urgent interdict at the Pretoria High Court to prevent the Minister from implementing the moratorium. On the eve of the court sitting, the Ministry Friday withdrew the moratorium but the hearing of the application by the Chamber continued.
During the brief hearing, both parties agreed on the matter and the court formally endorsed the settlement.
Speaking for the Chamber of Mines, its Chief Negotiator, Elize Strydom, said: We are relieved and pleased that the agreement was reached and that the judge also made this agreement an order of the court. So, we can go back and say to the world there will be no more moratorium against applications for new mining rights, new prospecting rights or for renewal of existing rights or for the change of shareholding in terms of section eleven of the new Act.
The Department did not submit an answering affidavit to the Chamber's court application challenging the new Mining Charter and the judge was not impressed, ordering Zwane to submit an affidavit explaining his conduct within 14 days.
Strydom said: The Minister owes us his answering affidavit. We are hoping that he will submit this answering affidavit to our court case on Monday. And all things being equal, we will be in court in the middle of September on an urgent basis to determine firstly to get a court order to interdict the Minister from implementing the Mining Charter and thereafter to review the reviewed mining charter.
No official from the department was in court, only its legal representatives.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK