Meeting SummaryThe meeting was for the Council for GeoScience (CGS) to present its report in respect of its 2012/2013 strategic plans. The strategic outcome oriented goals of the CGS was to ensure that employees viewed the CGS as an attractive career opportunity. The mandate of CGS was in line with the Geoscience Act (No. 100 of 1993) to provide a number of obligations contained in that Act. The strategy of the CGS was linked to a number of national imperatives and its strategic objectives were in respect of a number of factors. The CGS also had a number of issues which posed challenges to it. The CGS provided a number of mappings in relation to its various projects. There were a number of mine seismology projects which included the Integration of the South African National Seismograph Network and Database with Mining Networks as well as the Fluid-Induced Seismicity in the Central Basin Area. A number of seismograph stations had been installed in the Kosh mining region and a few others were planned in the Bushveld region and Welkom region. The CGS was also in collaboration with Eskom in its plans to build a nuclear power plant. The CGS also had key projects on the international front in countries such as
Members asked the CGS for its level of success in its commercial projects. The CGS had an objective to implement the Geoscience Amendment Act (No. 16 of 2010) and Members wanted to know how much this would cost and if the National Treasury had given the CGS any funds to meet this objective. Members were also curious about
Council for Geoscience 2012 Strategic Plan: briefing
Dr Gerhard Graham, CGS Acting Chief Executive Officer, stated that the strategic outcome-oriented goal of the CGS was to ensure that employees viewed the CGS as an attractive career opportunity. The CGS was responsive to the developmental needs of the country and was recognised among global leaders in the geological field because of its commitment to excellence. The CGS was a financially viable and structurally robust organisation catering for all stakeholders and utilising multiple revenue streams.
The vision of CGS was to provide leading earth-science solutions and its mission was to provide expert earth-science information and services to improve the management of natural resources and the environment for a better quality of life for all. The values of CGS were to innovate and create through teamwork, excel through quality and performance, value diversity through trust and respect and invest in its people.
The mandate of CGS was in line with the Geoscience Act (No. 100 of 1993) to provide the systematic onshore and offshore geoscientific mapping of South Africa, undertake basic geoscience research into the nature and origin of rock; ensure the collection and curation of all geoscience data and act as a National Geoscience Repository; rendering of geoscience knowledge services and advice to the State; manage a number of national geoscience facilities on behalf of the country and render commercial geoscience services and products to national and international clients. The CGS also aligned its strategy and activities with Government programmes of action and national imperative, the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR’s) strategy and mining growth strategy and DST’s national research and development strategy.
The strategy of the CGS in relation to national imperatives included speeding up economic growth, rural development and poverty eradication, increasing innovation, skills development, expediting transformation, development of
The key challenges to CGS were insufficient resources, aging infrastructure, continuing with Transformation, refocusing, and aligning the organisation to address South Africa (SA)’s developmental challenges.
Dr Graham highlighted the strategic performance targets and objectives of CGS which were linked to a number of perspectives. These perspectives included the stake holder/customer perspective, the effective systems perspective and the world-class people perspective.
Dr Graham presented the mappings relating to various projects of the CGS. These mappings included geological mapping, metallogenic mapping, geotechnical mapping, regional geochemical mapping, and mapping relating to seismicity in
The CGS had a number of mine seismology projects. These projects included the Integration of the South African National Seismograph Network and Database with Mining Networks as per the recommendation in chapter 1 of the Presidential Mine Health and Safety Audit 2008. This project aimed to extend the South African National Seismograph Network (SANSN) into the mining districts; integrate available seismological information from SANSN and mining networks and to investigate the link between seismic events and injury/deaths of miners.
Another project was the Fluid-Induced Seismicity in the Central Basin Area which aimed to predict strong ground motion for the maximum expected magnitude of earthquake, evaluate the damage potential as it was defined by the South African Building Codes and develop an early warning system for risk reduction.
In respect of the integration of SANSN with the mining networks, during 2011/12, 25 seismograph stations were installed in the Kosh mining region, data from these stations were being sent to the CGS in near real time and automatically located where possible. In the future, the CGS planed to install seismograph stations in the Bushveld region and eventually in the Welkom region. The CGS also planned to create a Centre for Research in Induced Seismicity (CRIS) at which research into seismicity at the mines and dams/reservoirs would be conducted. In support of these activities, 10 stations had been installed in the Carletonville region and 12 stations already existed in the
In relation to Eskom’s new build project, the CGS had been appointed by Eskom to perform a Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Assessment for Eskom’s potential nuclear site. The characterisation of the ground-motion hazard at the site would ultimately lead to a licence to build and operate a nuclear power plant. The study conducted by the CGS was an industry gold standard and could become the benchmark for international best practice. Investigations were to be extended to more than one site.
The CGS also had a project in relation to stimulation of investment in the minerals and energy sectors. This project was important because mining contributed about 8% of the GDP, and was therefore the backbone of the economy.
The CGS had planned a three year proposal for 2012/13-2014/15 and a budget of approximately R20 million per annum had been prepared. The CGS proposal includes closure of dangerous mine openings, environmental assessment and preparation of rehabilitation plans for identified high-risk coal and asbestos mines, maintenance and updating of the database including ranking to identify high-risk sites and updating the estimate of the State’s potential contingent liability. The CGS also had keys projects on the international front in countries such as
The bid to host the 35th International Geological Congress (IGC35) in 2016 was awarded to
In respect of human resources, the strategy of CGS included retaining retaining skilled scientists, fast tracking the training of young scientists especially previously disadvantaged. The training programmes were bursaries (part-time and full-time), internship programme (in collaboration with the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA)), mentorship programme and geological mapping field school. The geological field school was initiated in 2005 and was based in
Ms F Bikani (ANC) referred to the research of the CGS. She observed that she had not heard anything in regard to the exploration of shale gas. She asked if CGS was carrying out in research in respect of the exploration of shale gas. She further asked how much of the CGS budget was being spent on such research.
Mr M Sonto (ANC) referred to the strategic objectives of the CGS. He stated that the CGS had an objective to attract a skilled workforce yet it had no resources and its infrastructure was ageing. He asked how the CGS hoped to achieve this objective.
Mr Sonto further referred to the national imperative of the CGS in respect of rural development and poverty eradication. He asked how the CGS planned to achieve this goal and if it was in partnership with anyone in order to achieve the goal.
Mr Sonto asked the CGS for its level of success in its commercial projects because these commercial projects funded the bursaries’ of the CGS and its other needs. Did the commercial projects of the CGS relate to its strategic objectives.
Mr Sonto further asked for the reasons which made it difficult for the CGS to attract whites and coloured people to the institution and what was been done to address the issue. He stated that he was not happy with the state of affairs.
The Chairperson observed that the CGS had stated its objective to implement the Geoscience Amendment Act (No. 16 of 2010). He asked how much this planned objective would cost and whether the National Treasury was amenable to giving the CGS the needed funds.
The Chairperson referred to the issue of insufficient resources which posed a challenge to the CGS. He asked if the CGS had informed the National Treasury of this challenge it was facing.
The Chairperson made further reference to the issue of refocusing and aligning of the organisation to address
Further reference was made to the finance of the CGS. It was observed that the bulk of the funds of the CGS was used in paying employees' remuneration which had taken up almost half of the total budget of the CGS. He asked how the CGS was coping with this situation.
The Chairperson observed that there was only a slight increase in the amount designated by the CGS to be spent in meeting its targets in relation to mapping and publication. He asked if this situation was due to insufficient resources or if it was due to the difficulty in producing maps.
The Chairperson further observed that CGS had been appointed by Eskom to perform a probabilistic seismic hazard assessment for its potential nuclear site. He referred to the recent nuclear disaster in
The Chairperson asked why
Dr Graham replied to the question concerning why
In response to the question concerning what work CGS rendered to Eskom, he stated that aside from establishing stability of the site for the nuclear plant CGS also had to provide input for the engineers designing the nuclear plant. CGS was also determining the extent of ground motion that the nuclear facility could be exposed to. Cognisance had also been taken of what had happened in
The Chairperson asked if Eskom had asked CGS to do any work in respect of where the nuclear waste would be stored.
Dr Graham replied that CGS had not been charged to conduct any investigation in respect of the storage of the nuclear waste.
Dr Graham responded to issue of the employees' remuneration taking up a large part of the CGS finance. He admitted that salaries indeed took up a large part of the CGS budget and this why the organisation had embarked upon a number of commercial projects to generate more funds.
In response to the question relating to the CGS’s objective to implement the Geoscience Amendment Act and whether the National Treasury had provided any finds, he replied that CGS had indeed sought funds from the National Treasury as far back as December 2011 but that it was clear that there would be no funding from the body. Efforts would be made to approach the Treasury again to see if funds would be granted to CGS.
Mr Fhatuwani Ramagwede, Executive Manager: Applied Geoscience, stated that the budget for the implementation of the Geoscience Amendment Act was R19 million which had been submitted to the National Treasury but no funds were forthcoming from the body. It was hoped that the Committee would be able to appeal to the treasury to make funds available to CGS.
The Chairperson asked why so much money was needed for the implementation.
Mr Ramagwede replied that the money was needed to employ additional staff, acquire new infrastructure facilities and securing facilities for archiving exploration data.
The Chairperson asked for the reasons given by the National Treasury for refusing to give CGS funds.
Mr Ramagwede replied that the National Treasury informed CGS that it was more focused on providing funds for the promotion of mineral investments in 2012.
Mr Sonto commented that the National Treasury had suspected that the CGS had ample reserves and this probably accounted for the rejection of the application for funds by the CGS.
Mr Ramadwede replied that the reserves of the CGS was not so big when compared to the reserves of other bodies and this fact had been presented to National Treasury.
Dr Graham replied to the question of how successful were the commercial projects embarked upon by the CGS. He stated that the projects had been successful over the years and the income from these projects had been used to fund some of the programmes of the CGS.
Mr Ramadwede replied to the question relating to shale gas. CGS had been included by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) in the working group on shale gas. CGS was not really involved in doing research, rather what it was doing was that it was waiting for the outcome of the recommendation on shale gas and to identify the areas where CGS would have to address the situation.
The Chairperson urged Members to adopt the report [the Strategic Plan] of the CGS.
Ms Bikani moved the motion to adopt the report of the CGS.
Ms L Mjobo (ANC) seconded the motion.
The report of the CGS was adopted.
The meeting was adjourned.
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