Members briefly discussed the Committee Report on the budget vote of the Departments of Minerals and Energy, and adopted it with amendments. Members expressed concern about illegal mining and vowed to initiate legislation to curb this practice. Members also raised the issue of beneficiation and its potential to create jobs and the implications of electricity tariff hikes.
Committee Report on Joint Budget Vote 28: Minerals and Energy
The Chairperson allowed Members to go through the Report and raise any issues they wished to amend.
Mr P Dexter (COPE) asked whether there would be sufficient funds for the newly established Department of Minerals.
M N Diale (ANC) noted that the Report only indicated the combined allocation (for both Departments), and did not specify the provisions for each Department.
The Chairperson said that the Committee should look at gaps in legislation with regards to illegal mining.
Mr H Schmidt (DA) believed that the Committee had not given the necessary attention to the issue of illegal mining in the past. He urged the Committee to initiate legislation that would curb this practice.
Mr Diale advised the Committee to look at all the Health and Safety Issues.
Mr E Lucas (IFP) felt that the Report should include the inspection of other disused mines, like Barberton.
Mr Dexter pointed out that illegal mining was a separate matter from health and safety standards. The latter was a broader subject that encompassed many issues.
The Chairperson said that the Secretariat would include a paragraph on illegal mining in the Report.
Mr Schmidt suggested that the Committee look at mines that had been shut down and were likely to be used for illegal mining.
Mr Lucas said that the Committee should look at beneficiation in a broader perspective because it had great potential for job creation.
The Chairperson pointed out that the Committee had already engaged the Department on this matter.
Mr P Dexter asked for a Report on the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR).
The Chairperson replied that the Committee had not yet received a report from the Department.
The Chairperson indicated that he would invite Eskom and National Energy Regulator of South Africa to brief the Committee on tariff hikes.
Adoption of Report
The Chairperson invited Members to file a motion of adoption of the Report.
Mr Schmidt and Mr S Motau (DA) said that they supported the Report but not the Budget vote. They said that the DA caucus had not yet discussed the issue and its implications.
Mr Dexter concurred with the DA position.
Mr L Ndabandaba (ANC) said that all political parties would have to consult with their caucuses; the issue was the adoption of the report not caucuses.
Mr Diale moved for the adoption of the report and Mr Motau seconded the motion.
The Report was adopted with amendments.
The Chairperson informed the Committee that the debate on the Budget vote would be held on the 23 June 2009.
The meeting was adjourned.
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