This is the blog post that's been sitting in my head for over a week now. Let's say you are a mines minister who has been known to celebrate Diwali in Saxonwold and arrange for plane flights to Waterkloof and go to Switzerland to chat to Ivan about a certain Tegeta company and a mine. In short you are one hell of a GupTankCommander. Rumours are that it is likely that you got the gig because the Guptas decided they needed a patsy to push through a wide variety of their business interests. You were the man. Ah yes but there is a problem, you have inherited an old spat between the Chamber of Mines and the DMR over the once-empowered, always-empowered issue which is now sitting in court. You have said over and over again that you are seeking a negotiated settlement. This all suggests that you are reasonable man, someone who is willing to talk, your doors are open.
But as a man known as Ed Christie said to me many years ago in Oshakati – our initial assessment of the man was "'n kak waardeuring gewees". In English a shit appreciation of the man. Here's a little bit of background.
There's been a dispute for a long time about the effect of the once-empowered, always-empowered rule. The Chamber argues that they have achieved the targets and hence should be allowed to focus on the other aspects of the charter. The Minerals Department argues that this is not the case, when the black shareholders go you get others. The Chamber's argument that the beleaguered resources industry can barely afford to mine let alone refinance deals. They were getting nowhere and so it went to court. This was done under the tutelage of the former mines' minister, Ngoako Ramatlhodi. He gets fired by the Guptas/ Zuma and is replaced by one Mosebenzi Zwane. To get a feel for Zwane take a look at Justice Malala's assessment.
Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, a man spectacularly unqualified and unsuitable for the office he occupies, continues to demonstrate that he was appointed by Zuma to be the Gupta "baas boy" in cabinet. Remember this is the man who facilitated the Guptas' acquisition of a farm in Vrede when he was a lowly mayor. He also facilitated their landing a plane at the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria for their wedding guests. Within months of being appointed minister he flew to Switzerland to facilitate their acquisition of the Optimum coal mine from Glencore.
Still the man was willing to go to court. Wasn't broadsided by the Malan Scholes court case. Oh he was a man you could talk to. Yeah fucking right!!! This same personage decides that he'll allow the court case to go ahead but the outcome will be a moot point because he's publishing a new charter for comment that absolutely forbids the once-empowered rule. He justifies this using the following reasoning.
"Whether or not the mining charter is before a court does not preclude us from legislating," Zwane told reporters in Cape Town on Tuesday, without providing dates for the meeting. "We released the charter so as to engage in robust debate. That is how the final Mining Charter will come about - as a result of the engagements we have with stakeholders."
The 26% provision could have been higher, Zwane said. "If we wanted to we could have made ownership 35% or 40% as the wealth of South Africa belongs equally to all."
Ahh the wisdom of a Gupta/Zuma patsy. You might recall that a rumour went around 15 odd years ago that mining ownership compliance figures were to be 51%. Investors left in their droves. Billions were lost on the JSE. It's clear that Zwane is a very dangerous man. This move is being done with malicious intent.
Yes, the mines will engage and negotiate, they've got no choice. Mines!!!! – you are attempting to turn a mamba into a family pet. A mamba knows only to bite and flee. It's not going to sit on your lap and cuddle you on those cold wintery nights. Don't bother with the argument that it is only black people who will suffer because the unintended consequence is that the sector will collapse. They DON'T GIVE A FUCK. THEY DON'T GIVE TWO SHITS. THEY TRULY COULD NOT BE BOTHERED. Understand that when you negotiate. There is no reasonable argument that that will be considered. What they want to do is destroy white monopoly capital. And this must happen at all costs.
It still bothers me what they are doing it now, Pravin is trying his damndest to preserve the economy and the Zuma patsies are attempting to scuttle his efforts. This is a structured programme by Zuma to wreak havoc and weaken all opposition to him. Perhaps the thought is that Pravin will toss it all in and just fuck off to his retirement home.
No – we need to take the lead from the likes Malan Scholes and litigate when their arbitrariness gets out of hand. At least we know that they listen to the Constitutional Court.
Now – the final question is. Is it a mere coincidence that the mining minister has the word Benz in his first name? I think not.
Or is it that you prefer Catherine Tate…..