PC Mining: Adoption of reports and minutes

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Mineral Resources and Energy

29 November 2011
Chairperson: Mr F Gona (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met to consider and adopt the Committee’s minutes between 31 August and 28 October 2011, and the Oversight Report on the visit to Sehkukhune Region, Limpopo, from 5 to 8 September. The Minutes were adopted, with minor grammatical changes. During their discussions on the Minutes of 31 August, Members also raised the question of what countries could be visited during study tours, and noted that Malaysia, Australia (particularly Queensland) and Japan would all present opportunities for relevant study.

When considering the oversight report, Members raised several issues of concern, including mine security concerns at Smokey Hill Platinum Mine, and made reference to dismissal of employees, without allegedly following correct procedures, as well as the fact that the mining company had made no moves to invest in developing areas around the mine, including the fact that even the mine offices were being run out of containers. Members asked for clarification in the Report of which mines were respecting traditional leaders, and which were ignoring them, asked for clarity on the ownership by the community in Modikwa Mine, made the point that although the mining company had approved funding for low cost housing, none had been erected, and noted the need to highlight that some directors were using different names to escape from some responsibilities. It was noted that the Committee would be making follow-up visits to ascertain progress. The DA noted that it would want to have the opportunity to debate the Report when presented in Parliament, and if this opportunity was not given, then if would abstain from adopting the Report. The majority of other Members adopted the Report, but the DA abstained.

Meeting report

Ms Noluthando Skaka, Committee Secretary, noted the apologies.

Ms F Bikani (ANC) said that there was need to indicate also which Members were absent.

The Chairperson noted that the Committee had a quorum, and would need to attend to the adoption of minutes.

Adoption of Minutes of Committee meetings (including discussion on Study Tour)
The Chairperson asked Members to consider the minutes of the meeting on 31 August 2011.

Adv H Schmidt (DA) said that in the second line on page 3, under paragraph 2.6, the wording needed to be amended, from "total support of current" to "total support of the current". He also asked whether the COSATU Council was different from COSATU, and suggested that the word “Council” could be removed.

The Chairperson noted that those Members who were not present should have been noted.

The Minutes were adopted, subject to the amendments.

Mr E Lucas (IFP) raised his general concern about Members who failed to attend Committee meetings.

The Chairperson answered that Members from the smaller parties were stretched, and had to attend several other portfolio committee meetings; for instance the Minority Front had only one Member. Some of the Members did desktop research into the issues, including reading the reports from the Parliamentary Monitoring Group, and relied on this only.

Study Tour
The Chairperson raised the question of study tours, noting that if the Committee wanted to conduct a study tour the Committee had to apply, and would therefore need to discuss where to visit. He noted that South Africa itself provided a perfect topic for transformation.

Adv Schmidt noted that Malaysia had started on transformation. He thought that the Committee should visit a country like Australia, where there was a certain form of economic growth, and there were challenges such as resource nationalisation. The Committee had to see whether the measures were feasible and what the impact was.

Mr Lucas thought there was a need to visit Japan.

The Chairperson said that there was need to look at the issues of mining and beneficiation. The province of Queensland in Australia was the champion on health and safety. He noted that the Committee would need to work further on a proposal to be submitted for the study tour.

The Minutes of 14 September 2011 were tabled.

Mr Lucas corrected the reference to Historically Disadvantaged South Africans on page 1.

Mr E Marais (DA) suggested that paragraph 2.4 of the first bullet point should read “disappear” instead of “vanish”.

The minutes were adopted, subject to these amendments.

The Minutes of
21 September 2011 were tabled.

Adv Schmidt noted a spelling correction in paragraph 2.1

The Chairperson suggested that the Committee insert the word "they" in the second sentence of the first paragraph on page 2.

The minutes were adopted, subject to amendment.

The Minutes of 26 October 2011 were tabled.

Ms Bikani noted that at the end of the meeting on the 26th of October there was a briefing from the Parliamentary Legal Services and suggested that the content of the briefing be included in the minutes.

The Chairperson agreed with Ms Bikani. The decisions that the Committee would take on Alexkor Development Corporation would be based on the advice that the Committee had received from legal services.

minutes were adopted, subject to amendment.

The Minutes of 28 October 2011 were tabled.

Ms Bikani asked whether the last bullet point on page 9 and the first bullet point on page 10 were supposed to correlate, because they did not currently make sense.

The Chairperson noted that these bullet points contained the historical background of Aurora, as presented to the Committee by the Aurora liquidators.

minutes were adopted.

Oversight report on the visit to Sehkukhune Region, Limpopo, from 5 to 8 September
The Chairperson said that there was need to add a fourth bullet point into the introductory paragraph that dealt with the general compliance with the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA). There was also a need for the Committee’s Report to reflect mine security concerns at Smokey Hill Platinum, under paragraph 4.1.

Adv Schmidt added that, under the 5th bullet point of paragraph 4.1, the Committee should add the phrase 'The authority' so that the phrase would read "the authority of the mine security...". Furthermore under the 6th bullet point, the word "allegedly" should be inserted after the word "without", so that the sentence would read 'dismissal of 600 employees without allegedly following proper procedures".

The Chairperson said that there was a need to clarify which mine was disrespecting traditional leaders and which mine was using the services of traditional leaders.

The Chairperson also indicated the need to clarify the second bullet point on page 4, to determine where trenches were dug to lay down water pipes, but no progress had been made.

The Chairperson also noted that there was a need to clearly state, under paragraph 5. 1, in what way the community had gained 8.5% ownership of Modikwa Mine.

The Chairperson thought that under paragraph 6.2, dealing with Social and Labour Plans, the Committee needed to reflect the complaint that the mining company had approved the R50 million for low cost social housing but the money had not yet been spent. 

Ms B Tinto (ANC) noted a grammatical error under the fourth bullet in paragraph 7.2. There was need to change the phrase "...due do..." to 'due to'.

Ms Bikani said that there was a need to highlight how directors were using different names to escape certain responsibilities.

Ms Tinto asked noted the recommendations in paragraph 10, that the Committee and the delegation that had undertaken the oversight should go back to the province within three months to follow up on the progress that had been made.

The Chairperson agreed with Ms Tinto that a visit should be undertaken, but there was no need to specify the time period.

The Chairperson noted that the draft Report did not present the Committee's conclusion on Smokey Hills, and Members had expressed their disquiet about it at the time. One of the concerns was the militarised style of the security at the mine. This was a reflection of a hostile attitude between the mining company and the community. It was also clear that the Smokey Hills did not intend to invest in the mine. No proper infrastructure, including offices, had been placed on the mine, and the offices were being run from containers.

The Chairperson asked if Members were in a position to adopt the Report.

Ms Bikani suggested that the oversight report could be adopted, with corrections.

Adv Schmidt said that when this Report was tabled and discussed in Parliament, the DA would also want to have its say.

The Chairperson agreed that it was customary for some Members to raise points on reports, even if they had voted in favour of the total Report. When reports were tabled, the Chairperson was usually given five minutes to speak to that Report.

Mr Lucas said that the Report was not supposed to deviate from what the Committee had discussed.

Adv Schmidt said that the DA would abstain from adopting the report, if the DA would not have an opportunity to debate the report.

Mr Lucas stressed that there was need for all Members of the Committee to try to reach agreement on issues. He indicated that he would be prepared to adopt the Report.

The Oversight Report, with amendments, was adopted by the majority of Members, with the DA abstaining.

The meeting was adjourned.


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