The Portfolio Committee had two items on the agenda.
Firstly, the Committee’s Report on the Mining Charter was considered for adoption. Key areas of concern fell to recommendations that bi-annual reports be made available to the Committee based on findings made by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) regarding levels of compliance mining companies achieved with regard to the Charter as well as the nature of verification of these findings.
In lieu of forthcoming workshops, where various role players would likely address these concerns, final recommendations could be made in conjunction with later developments.
The Committee adopted the Report with its current recommendations.
Secondly, minutes dating back to November 2012 needed to be considered and adopted. Eight sets of minutes were presented and adopted with minor corrections and amendments made to some.
Mining Charter: Committee’s Report adoption
The Acting Chairperson reminded the Committee that forthcoming workshops and programmes that would clarify issues with various role players would be held in due course.
Mr H Schmidt (DA) commented that whichever stance the Committee chose, the matter was still in a state of chaos. It was necessary for all Members to fully comprehend the Charter. How did codes of practice fit in?
The Acting Chairperson noted that at the aforementioned workshops, role players such as the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) would present on current issues and would try to clarify on grey areas. The Committee needed to keep grey areas in mind for these proceedings. Coordination between the Committee and various presenters would clear highlighted issues. All Committee Members would be presented with a copy of the Charter and scorecard and would be expected to familiarise themselves with these.
The Acting Chairperson began running through the Report, page by page, opening for comments and corrections per page. Recommendations were to be observed at the end of page by page reading.
Ms N Ngele (ANC) asked that, after 15 pages had been queried in a slow process, yielding only one minor correction on p.2, that the Committee move to asking for individual contributions from Members as opposed to page by page reading to avoid this cumbersome task. The Committee agreed.
Mr Schmidt highlighted that from p.17 onward there was a host of information that the Committee had not had sight of before.
The Acting Chairperson confirmed that the researchers had achieved increased detail and compiled this new information following investigation of recordings and various other documents.
The Acting Chairperson noted, favourably, that institutions such as the Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG) and others provided valuable assistance in their recordings, both through reports and through sound recordings that allowed for more detailed insight. The Committee’s researcher confirmed that he made extensive use of PMG material in compiling his report and that, in the absence of Committee meeting reports (due to the delay of consideration of minutes), the evidence within PMG material proved doubly useful.
Mr Schmidt pointed out that a misplaced graphic obscured text on p.47 of the report. This was noted and a secretary was tasked with providing the Committee with correct copies of this page, which were handed out later in the meeting.
The Acting Chairperson noted all comments and corrections and moved towards opening for Recommendations.
Mr Schmidt noted that point 4 of the recommendations in the report called for direct oversight of mining companies by the Committee. The Committee was not a policing unit. The recommendation should read that the Committee performed a monitoring role.
Mr C Gololo (ANC) asked how information in the reports from mines could be verified.
The Acting Chairperson noted that these issues would be brought up in the forthcoming workshops.
Mr Schmidt highlighted compliance reports made bi-annually. The Committee never saw these reports. Could the DMR provide these reports and comment on these?
Mr Sonto suggested that there should be a monitoring tool, in whatever form, that could be juxtaposed with reports from the DMR.
The Acting Chairperson asked what it was that the Members would be assessing. How would this prove fair with other mining companies?
Mr J Lorimer (DA) commented that the Committee should only become involved when there was a noticeable dispute in the findings.
The Acting Chairperson clarified that her worry was that the ‘Top 10’ mines would be addressed in these DMR deliberations of compliance but that smaller mining companies might fall by the wayside.
Mr R Sonto (ANC) expressed that there would not be a “one size fits all” approach. Monitoring compliance would vary from mining company to mining company, especially with the division of the “Top 10” as a priority. However, everyone needed to be monitored. The Committee could then handle the various issues from time to time as they arose.
Mr Schmidt again queried why the reports, particularly of the “Top 10” that were made to the DMR, were not presented to the Committee. Did the DMR even have the capacity to analyse information from the approximate 1500 mines and provide purposeful reports based on these findings? If not, was there even any point in having it as part of the Charter if it was impractical to effect?
Ms Ngele wanted confirmation whether the previous recommendations meant the Committee was committing to monitor the “Top 10” mining companies?
Mr S Mohai (ANC) asked what level of authority the monitoring process adopted. How could findings be verified?
Mr Gololo suggested a way of verifying information through involving assisting groups such as unions and organised labour departments, not just the DMR.
The Acting Chairperson again noted that the workshops would provide the opportunity for various groups to present such as Mintek, the Chamber of Mines, the South African Mining Development Association (SAMDA) and others. Based on what would be heard in these workshops, in conjunction with current report findings, the Committee could make realistic recommendations.
In conclusion the Acting Chairperson noted that at the heart of the matter was the need for the DMR to present detailed reports based on assessments of compliance completed during visits to the mining companies.
Mr Lorimer added that only discrepancies should be noted in these reports, upon which the Committee could act. Could the DMR effect this realistically?
The Acting Chairperson agreed that bi-annual summaries should be provided by the DMR based on investigations on the level of compliance of the ‘Top 10’ companies.
Mr Lorimer moved that this be expanded to include all mining companies, not just the ‘Top 10’. Could the DMR provide a summary of trends within the industry in general?
The Acting Chairperson agreed with this point. When should the report/summary by the DMR be made available, realistically? She recommended the date of 05 July, i.e. two weeks before Parliament recommenced. This should be dealt with in conjunction with the workshops and not separately.
The Acting Chairperson moved for the adoption of the report. Ms L Mjobo (ANC) moved for it, seconded by Ms Ngele.
Committee minutes: consideration and adoption
The Acting Chairperson began by asking for agreement that minutes be handled on a weekly basis following the previous week’s meeting as the delays were creating administrative problems. Committee Members agreed.
Minutes for the current meeting contained eight sets.
Minutes 14 November 2012 (four pages) were adopted without comment or amendment.
Minutes 27 February 2013 (two pages) were adopted without comment or amendment.
Minutes 6 March 2013 (four pages) were adopted with a comment regarding p.4, that the mining company in question needed to be recalled before the Committee at some point.
Minutes 13 March 2013 (two pages) were adopted without comment or amendment.
Minutes 20 March 2013 (four pages) were adopted with the recommendation by the Acting Chairperson that point ‘3.8’ of p.3 be moved to conclusion. The Committee accepted the amendment.
Minutes 17 April 2013 (four pages) were adopted with a comment that on p.1, Mr Gololo’s apology was not noted. Mr Sonto noted that p.2 held that only one party was responsible for the mentioned break in communication but that it should read that both parties involved were responsible; p.3 held that the mining company in question was to rectify and report back to the Committee within 21 days and that the Committee was accommodating in that regard. Still to comply. p.4 Petra meant to send certified trust documents. Were these sent? If so, distribute to Committee Members.
Minutes 24 April 2013 (two pages) were adopted with a comment that despite proposal of dealing with Committee Members coming late to meetings, the problem persisted, despite moving meetings to a later timeslot.
Minutes 22 May 2013 (two pages) were adopted without comment or amendment.
The Acting Chairperson adjourned the meeting.
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