The Chamber of Mines of South Africa (CoM) said on Wednesday that it would join Business Unity South Africa and Business Leadership South Africa in support of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) stance against State capture and corruption.
Thousands of workers and civil society organisations took to the streets in 13 cities and towns on Wednesday in a nationwide strike against corruption and State capture led by Cosatu, the country’s largest trade union federation.
Cosatu and the South African Communist Party (SACP), both alliance partners to the ruling African National Congress (ANC), said they have embarked on “rolling action” to defeat the corrupt elite. The SACP said it has instructed its members in government, including ministers, to down tools and join workers at the picket lines.
Cosatu and the SACP have repeatedly called on President Jacob Zuma to step down in the face of damning allegations of corruption and looting of State resources by his friends, the controversial Gupta family and their associates. Zuma’s son Duduzane is a business partner of the Guptas.
Supporting Cosatu’s strike action, the Chamber of Mines said State capture and corruption were putting the future of South Africans in jeopardy and also placing the mining industry at risk.
“There are many committed and hard-working individuals within government and in the Department of Mineral Resources, who like us, believe that South Africans deserve better: That South Africans have earned the right to a meaningful future, a future where every citizen has the opportunity to prosper, not only the well-connected few,” said the Chamber in a statement.
“The unilaterally developed Mining Charter introduced by the minister of mineral resources in June itself carries strong indications of corrupt motives. The Chamber has had no choice but to resort to the courts to suspend the minister’s Charter. But, there is a long journey ahead, which requires a Ministry that is committed to doing the best for its mines and miners.”
The Chamber is challenging the implementation of the controversial 2017 Reviewed Mining Charter at the North Gauteng High Court and the country’s Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has committed not to implement or apply the provisions of recently gazetted mining charter until the judgement of the review in December.
The Charter, which was gazetted in June, sets new black ownership targets for the industry, including that new mining rights holders have 30 percent black ownership shared among employees, communities and black entrepreneurs.
The Chamber reiterated that its members have lost confidence in Zwane’s leadership of the DMR, also saying that it supports the call for a commission of inquiry into State capture and calls for ethical leadership and a focus on the national interest by all parties.