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Mining needs real BEE - Leon

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Pretoria - Transformation of the mining sector as defined by the mining charter is not confined to ownership of the mines, an expert said on Wednesday.

Ideal black economic empowerment would include employee share ownership, community development agreements and radical changes to company law, said Peter Leon, a partner at legal firm Webber Wentzel in Johannesburg.

“People often lose sight of this; the mining charter isn’t only concerned about ownership,” he told the annual 2012 Transformation Indaba in Pretoria.

“It is also concerned about procurement, enterprise and skills development, beneficiation, housing and living conditions, and human resource management.”

Leon said there was an overemphasis on ownership, to the detriment of other aspects of the mining charter.

Many mining companies benefited the same connected individuals at the expense of mineworkers and people living around the mines.

Leon said 2012 had been a year of momentous change for South Africa’s mining sector, in light of the tragedy which took place at Lonmin mine’s platinum operation in Marikana, North West.

Another panellist at the indaba, Peter Temane, chairman of the SA Mining Development Association, said the government did not have the capacity to enforce its BEE policies.

“The objectives of the BEE legislation are noble. Our government does not have the capacity to enforce these laws, whether it is deliberate or by default.” - Sapa

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