The constitutional imperatives for the development of artisanal and small-scale mining in South Africa
Since 1994, the South African artisanal and small-scale mining (“ASM”) sector has been a demarcation for the promotion of the economic participation of previously disadvantaged South Africans within the country’s broader economy. Various domestic policy documents refer to the ASM sector as one deserving of development and adequate regulation. However, to date, the sector still exists and functions on the fringes of the law. This fact has allowed for the under-development of the sector to persist and, out of such under-development, adverse ramifications, including the environmental degradation associated with illegal ASM, its occupational health and safety concerns and the acrimonious relationship between ASM and large-scale mining (“LSM”). It is such negative consequences of ASM that continue to thrive at the expense of the socio-economic and community-development potential of the sector. In light of the above, this study seeks to explore the theoretical framework upon which the development of the sector ought to be based. Such a developmental basis consists of the constitutional, legislative, domestic and international policy framework. Further, under the over-arching theme of constitutionally-responsible development of the South African ASM sector, recommendations are to be made to guide the manner in which the necessary development of the ASM sector ought to take shape.