The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources met to consider and adopt the draft report on the Department of Mineral Resources budget for 2013/14 financial year. Members added to the 6 recommendations that that were in the document. These were:
●The rehabilitation of mines should be given to the Council for Geosciences and Mintek.
● The Committee must receive an update on the filling of vacancies and how capacity was to be improved in the Department's regional offices throughout the country.
The Committee also considered and approved its oversight report on the oversight visit to Umdlankomo in the Eastern Cape. Members highlighted and recommended the following in this document:
●There had been concern about the mining that was taking place in the village. This had divided the community.
● After the blasting, houses cracked and the mine owners had never gone back to correct the situation. ●The Committee requested a report on the developments with regards to its housing policy.
●The company should ferry its workers by bus instead of a bakkie as the company was currently doing
The Committee also approved its second term programme.
Election of the Chairperson
Ms Ayanda Boss, Committee Secretary, apologised on behalf of the Chairperson who was absent due to ill-health. She said that in terms of Rule 130 of the National Assembly (NA) Rules, the Members of the Committee should elect an Acting Chairperson in the absence of the Chairperson.
Ms L Mjobo (ANC) nominated Ms F Bikani to be the Acting Chairperson.
Mr C Gololo (ANC) seconded the nomination.
The Committee agreed that Ms Bikani should be the Acting Chairperson for the meeting.
Committee Report on Department of Mineral Resources Strategic Plan 2013
The Acting Chairperson tabled the report for consideration and suggested that the Committee go through the report page by page.
Mr G Selau (ANC) referred to the 6 recommendations and queried if Members were satisfied that they accurately reflected what they would like to see as a way forward as well as the conclusion.
The Acting Chairperson said that the Committee should also include in its recommendations the issue of the rehabilitation of mines. The distribution of the work of the rehabilitation of mines should be given to the Council for Geosciences and Mintek. The Committee had requested a detailed report in relation to the development of those mines with aligned approved budget accounted for in the same report.
The Acting Chairperson also said that another point was that since there was an increase in the budget of the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), and one of the major challenges faced was capacity within the Department, it was important for the Committee to receive an update on the filling of vacancies and how capacity was to be improved in the Department's regional offices throughout the country.
The Acting Chairperson read that in conclusion the Portfolio Committee having received the Annual Performance and Strategic Plans and Budget Vote of the Department of Mineral Resources recommended that the House support the Budget Vote 32 of the DMR.
Ms Mjobo moved for the adoption of the report. Mr Gololo seconded the motion.
The Committee adopted the report.
Committee Report on its Oversight visit to the Eastern Cape
The Acting Chairperson suggested that the Committee should go through the report page by page.
Mr M Sonto (ANC) sought clarity on the word "notarially" on page 8 of the report.
Mr H Schmidt (DA) said that word "notarially" meant that it had been transferred in the books and that it had been registered.
The Acting Chairperson said that the word, as used in the report, was correct.
Mr Gololo proposed a grammatical correction on page 13 of the report.
The Acting Chairperson noted the correction.
Mr N Gcwabaza (ANC) corrected a grammatical error on page 14 in a sentence which read "Members wanted to know why limiting bursaries to two and to what extent did they cover".
The Chairperson said the sentence looked as though it was incomplete.
Mr Gololo said that the sentence should be continued to read that "the Transkei quarries responded that they give bursaries".
Mr Gololo referred to the sentence that read "houses are broken because of the blasting". He thought that the sentence should read that those houses were “cracked”, not broken.
The Acting Chairperson said that the community complained that the blasting went to an extent of damaging their houses through the cracks but obviously the warning was done in a very short space of time and some were caught unaware.
Mr Schmidt said that the sentence should read "houses were damaged because of the blasts and the mine had done nothing to correct the situation”.
Mr Gololo said they could not say the owners did nothing because they had built “hatasi” (xhosa word), but they didn't understand what the “hatasi” meant.
Mr Sonto said that the mine did nothing to correct the cracking houses, instead the mine built the “hatasi” and they didn't know what this meant.
The Acting Chairperson said the Committee needed to get the meaning of the “hatasi” because she could not remember what had been said. That sentence showed that after the blasting, houses cracked and the mine owners had never gone back to correct the situation. She proposed that the sentence should end there. She said that for the sake of understanding the report, the sentence needed to be reformulated because all the Members could not attest to what “hatasi” meant.
Mr Gololo referred to the fifth bullet in the recommendations and said there had been concern about the mining that was taking place in the village. This had divided the community.
The Acting Chairperson said that the non-compliance by mine owners and failure to keep the promises made was creating a division within the community.
Mr Sonto said that the Committee could say that the mining activity that was taking place in the village divided the community.
The Acting Chairperson agreed with that recommendation because it was straight forward.
Mr Selau said that there were a number of issues which needed to be clarified, and one of them was when the report showed the particular areas of visits where there was a consistent complaint of the mine not building houses because the mine was located next to the village houses. When looking at point 11.4 of the report it was an escape clause which seemingly said they were resting with that because if they wanted to avoid the social responsibility to workers, they could just establish the mine were people resided irrespective of their poor residential areas.
Mr Sonto explained the context in which that issue came about. In the area where those quarries were located there could not be houses. As a result of that, the mining company ferried workers to their residential areas and workers were happy with that. It would not be correct to suggest that the company was abdicating its responsibility. When the Committee said that the company should revise its housing policy together with the unions, it was saying that even where workers resided, there should be an arrangement by the company to subsidise their houses.
The Acting Chairperson said that it was also an issue that the mine was established long before the housing was extended to the mining area. The fact was that there was no housing policy and the company was not doing anything about it. The Committee had interrogated the company about changing its policy. A report was expected by the Committee on the developments of attending to that policy in relation to housing because the company could not build a house for the people without subsidising them.
Mr Selau referred to Mr Sonto’s remarks and suggested that the first sentence of the recommendation should not indicate that the company was doing that, but rather the Committee was to instruct the company to change the housing policy.
The Acting Chairperson agreed with Mr Selau that the sentence should state that the Committee requested a report on the developments with regards to its housing policy.
Mr Gololo said the report should also state that the Committee recommended that the company should ferry its workers by bus instead of a bakkie as the company was currently doing.
The Acting Chairperson agreed with that recommendation on the issue of safety.
Mr Gololo moved for the adoption of the report. This motion was seconded by Mr Sonto.
The Committee adopted the report with amendments.
Second Term Committee Programme
The Acting Chairperson presented the Committee with its draft programme for adoption.
Mr Sonto moved for the adoption of the programme.
Mr Gololo seconded the move.
The Committee adopted the programme.
The meeting was adjourned.
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