MINERAL Resources Minister Susan Shabangu has called for the parties involved in the Marikana saga to allow the law to take its course rather than to make statements that undermine legal processes.
Ms Shabangu told a New Age business breakfast on Monday that regulation challenges in the mining sector had to be dealt with. The breakfast was also attended by representatives of the Chamber of Mines and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
"We have implemented laws to regulate the sector. We have seen that there is noncompliance as some of these companies existed before these laws took effect," she said.
Ms Shabangu said South Africa worked with mining stakeholders to keep the industry competitive, while "ensuring that there is meaningful transformation".
Ms Shabangu made reference to the recent violent confrontations at Lonmin’s Marikana mine, where police killed 34 people and wounded 78 in a clash on August 16.
"Whilst we acknowledge the significance of the Marikana ordeal, it is apt for the industry to have a conversation about the underpinnings of such a problem, anticipate other potential challenges, and recommend a concrete plan of action that will ensure responsible action from all stakeholders," she said.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) said it was left out of talks following the Marikana massacre but Ms Shabangu denied this.
"There has been no attempt to sideline any organisations by government. We are engaging with the stakeholders who are involved because we cannot leave anyone out," Ms Shabangu said.
The minister said she had not heard of Amcu before the violence at Marikana.
Chamber of Mines CEO Bheki Sibiya said the NUM had been growing sporadically, while Amcu was still growing its membership. He said the government was "vigilant" in regulating the sector and called for further partnerships to address challenges in the mining sector’s workforce.
"Let us bring in stakeholders beyond the DMR (Department of Mineral Resources) to see how we can improve this backbone of our economy for the benefit of all South Africans," Mr Sibiya said.
Ms Shabangu said her department was finalising the mining beneficiation implementation framework, which would "give effect" to the beneficiation policy.
"Let me demystify the myth that government intends to steer the mining industry away from its core business and coerce them to beneficiate minerals. What we expect from the mining industry is to support the strategy and ensure minerals are available for beneficiation."