The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources adopted the minutes of its meetings held on 18 November, 23 November and 30 November 2011, and 24 January 2012, with amendments. The minutes from 29 November 2011 were passed without amendments. Members raised their concerns that they had not received the documentation in sufficient time to give full consideration to them, to the Manager of the Committee section, who undertook to report back to the Committee on some of the IT problems being experienced generally in Parliament.
The draft reports on the Mining Charter public hearings were tabled, but once again, Members were dissatisfied that not sufficient time had been given to them to review the reports, nor was sufficient time available to debate them fully at the meetings. The Chairperson felt that a significant amount of information was lacking from the draft report, and asked the Committee researcher to comment on why some of the reports had been drawn in the current format, and why the recommendations of mining companies were not included. It was pointed out that the public hearings were different from the subsequent hearings in which the mining companies only were asked to speak to their compliance with the Charter. The Committee also expressed some concerns that the Committee had not been entirely happy with the information presented. The Researcher was asked to amend the report, and another session would be allocated for more specific discussion on the reports.
The Chairperson opened the meeting by welcoming all members present, and invited the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) Committee members to introduce themselves. The Chairperson welcomed the new member of the Committee, and noted apologies.
Mr H Schmidt (DA) expressed his dismay that the Committee did not have access to the Mining Indaba.
The Chairperson agreed, and explained that the Committee had been told this was an event for foreign-based agencies, and nobody had been found to sponsor Parliament. He stated that few people, even from government agencies, attended because of the cost. For the following year, the Committee Members would try to find out where they stood. He agreed that it was undesirable for the indaba to be discussing laws, without any lawmakers being present.
Mr Schmidt stressed that it was imperative for Members to have access to the Mining Indaba.
Mr E Lucas (IFP) and Mr M Sonto (ANC) commented that exorbitant fees were charged for the indaba.
Ms N Mdaka (ANC) observed that it was strange to exclude Committee Members, and this was indicative of ‘something lacking in our own system of government’, which needed to be investigated.
The Chairperson agreed with this comment. He suggested that perhaps it would be possible to negotiate a reduction or exemption from fees for parliamentarians and officials.
Adoption of Committee Minutes
The Chairperson said that one of the purposes of the current meeting was to adopt all outstanding minutes. He commented that was not ideal that Members should only receive documents at the meeting and that they should be available several days in advance. He allowed some time for Members to review the documents. He asked why the documents were not given to the members prior to the meeting, and the reasons for the general lack of administrative support.
The Committee Assistant explained that there were technical difficulties, and the Chairperson called for comment from the manager of the Committee Section Unit.
Minutes of 18 November 2011
The Chairperson, Mr Schmidt, Ms Mdaka, and Mr Sonto corrected minor spelling and wording errors.
Mr Sonto also commented that he found the style of the minutes difficult to read, with the questions and the answers separated.
Ms Mdaka noted that there were too many incomplete sentences, and too much use of shortened notes.
Members adopted the Minutes, as amended.
Minutes of 23 November 2011
Mr Sonto sought clarification, on page 2, of the phrase ‘to this end in 1999’, and other members explained what was meant by this.
Mr Sonto also noted several grammatical changes.
The Chairperson asked that, on page 6, the reference to submission of a monthly progress report by the South African Women in Mining should be amended to read “a quarterly progress report”. The Committee Secretary was asked to follow up on the submission of a comprehensive report by the Department of Mineral Resources on other projects for women, mentioned on page 3.
Mr C Gololo (ANC) noted that no response was noted, on page 5, for the question of who was litigating against whom.
Mr Sonto remarked that the bullet numbering for the questions did not correspond with the numbering of the responses.
The minutes were adopted, with the proposed amendments.
Minutes of 29 November 2011
The minutes from 29 November were passed without amendments.
Minutes of 30 November 2011
The Chairperson commented that page 2 referred to “amendments” but did not detail them.
Other members commented that there was not enough detail in the minutes.
The Chairperson added that the Committee needed to submit its application for a visit to another country, and note the purpose.
Mr Schmidt suggested
The minutes of 30 November were passed with amendments and exclusions.
Minutes of 24 January 2012
The Chairperson pointed out a sentence on page 5 that did not make sense. He added that a third bullet point was needed, specifying that the Committee would engage with the Office of Auditor General on this matter to see what kind of intervention can be made. In general, he commented that more checking was required to ensure that the quality of the minutes improved.
The minutes of 24 January 2012 were adopted.
Support to the Committee
The Chairperson invited the Manager of the unit responsible for the distribution of documents to address the IT service and support that the Committee received. A lack of proper support would impact negatively on the Committee’s work.
The Manager acknowledged the concerns, and said IT was a persistent problem for all Committees. He said he would submit an inquiry to the IT department and report back to this Committee. The Manager agreed that it was unacceptable for Members to receive documents late, particularly when they were prepared in the previous year, but noted that some of the documents were only received by his section on the previous day.
Mr Schmidt suggested that a list of preferred emails be compiled by the Committee Secretary, so that members could receive the documents electronically before the meeting. In addition, he noted that Members living outside
Draft reports on Mining Charter public hearings
The Chairperson said that there were three sets of reports and suggested that the Committee go through them page-by-page.
Mr Schmidt said that guidance was needed from the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR or the Department). Members had not had a chance to read through all the reports, and only a broad discussion could be held without the Department’s comment.
Ms Mdaka remarked that there was not enough time to discuss the reports properly, and a separate meeting should be arranged for this.
Mr Sonto added that Members must discuss these reports fully.
The Chairperson asked Members to deal with the main report first.
Mr Schmidt remarked that the Committee had to add its recommendations to page 19, and asked how this could be done without firstly dealing with the other two reports.
The Chairperson felt that in general, this first report did not reflect exactly what was said, and had left out some significant information, including the findings of the Department in relation to human resource development.
Mr Schmidt noted that the document listing the Recommendations of organisations on the Revised Mining Charter did not deal with comments from the mining companies, only with non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Recommendations from mining companies were only contained in the Draft One Report The only place with recommendations from mining companies was in the document headed “Draft One Report”.
Mr Sibongiseni Nqcobo, Committee Researcher, explained that the ten mining companies were invited to report on their compliance with the Mining Charter, which was different from the purpose for which the public hearings were held initially. This was why these companies’ views on the Charter were not included.
Mr Sonto agreed, stating that pages 14 and 15 showed that the mining companies were required to comply with the nine elements of the Charter.
Ms Mdaka said that the previous Mining Charter had addressed the topic of white women in mines, but the current one did not mention it. She mentioned that the stakeholders had brought up the issue, and therefore wanted to see how the top ten mining companies were complying.
The Chairperson stated that the researcher’s report gave a false picture, pointing out that elements were missing from page 16 of the document recording the Committee’s engagement with the mining companies. This had dealt with ownership procurement. The mining companies were asked to employ South Africans and they claimed they had complied, but in fact they seemed not to be doing so, and the report must reflect this.
Ms Mdaka asked if the table on page 16 had been compiled by Mr Nqcobo.
Mr Nqcobo replied that it was his own compilation, based on submissions received.
Ms Mdaka suggested that a better scorecard system be used.
The Chairperson said the Report must reflect all the issues, and not only the views of selected mining companies.
Mr Schmidt said that perhaps not all the companies gave information.
The Chairperson stated that the information the companies reported could not be assumed to be the full truth. The Committee needed to note some questions and its comments in the Report. He asked that the Committee’s comments be taken into account by Mr Nqcobo, who should amend the Report.
The Chairperson noted concerns that transformation in the mining industry was not happening as it should. The Committee’s programme would allocate some time to facilitate this discussion and analyse the reports.
The meeting was adjourned.
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