Committee's Draft Report: Department of Mineral Resources Strategic Plan & Budget adopted

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Mineral Resources and Energy

29 April 2015
Chairperson: Mr S Luzipho (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met to discuss its draft report on the 2015-16 budget and strategic plan of the Department of Mineral Resources, as well as the Committee Programme for the next few months, and the minutes from the last two committee meetings.

Members pointed out several grammatical errors in the report. The one point of substantive disagreement was about the observations included in the report on transformation in the mining sector. Members of the DA took issue with the reference to “historically empowered elites,” and with the suggestion that the BEE minimum quota for mining companies should be “the subject of further improvement.” Members of the ANC, including the Chairperson, supported the wording as it was in the draft report, and the report was adopted with other amendments, with the objections of the two DA Members noted.

The Committee adopted the minutes, with minor amendments, of the last two meetings, and also adopted a revised Committee programme, noting that application had been made to approve the study tour. 

Meeting report

Chairperson's opening remarks
The Chairperson acknowledged the need for parliamentarians to continue to demonstrate that they are committed South Africans, to engage in constructive and fruitful discussions, to stand together to eradicate criminality and xenophobia and recognise the sacrifices made by citizens of South Africa and other SADC countries to the broader mining community.

Committee's Draft Report on Department of Mineral Resources 2015/2016 Strategic Plan and Budget
The Chairperson took the committee through the draft report on the Strategic Plan and Budget of the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR or the Department), page by page. He noted that this report included the presentations made to the Committee, the general opinions and the recommendations of the Committee. The Chairperson emphasised that this was not an adoption of the budget, which would later be done by Parliament, but merely a decision on the adoption of the report of the committee.

A number of grammatical corrections were suggested by the Committee Members, as follows:

Page 3 – removed “with” from last paragraph as grammatically incorrect.
Page 4 – inserted “the” in the second last paragraph, and removed “total.”
Page 5 – removed “total” from first paragraph. Deleted the last sentence of the first paragraph.
Page 7 – inserted a full stop at the end of the third paragraph.
Page 11 – changed “on” to “in,” “in” to “about,” and “be” to “been” in second paragraph.
Page 13 – comma replaced with full stop at end of second paragraph.
Page 15 – inserted “a” into second paragraph; inserted “an organisation” and later a comma into the second sentence in the second paragraph.

The Committee also discussed more substantive issues.

Mr J Lorimer (DA) referred to page 16, where there was a political discussion about the minimum Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) ownership requirement for mines. Mr Lorimer said that he did not agree with the use of the word “historically” to qualify “empowered elites” in the second bullet point. He further did not agree that the minimum standard of mine ownership should be “subject of further improvement.”

Mr Z Mandela (ANC) took issue with the second objection.

The Chairperson noted the transformational goals of the applicable legislation. He suggested the word “elite” should be deleted, rather than “historically.” He noted further that 26% was the applicable minimum, and this meant that the number should be improved from such a minimum, thus being “subject to improvement.”

Adv H Schmidt (DA) expressed concern that the current phrasing came across as looking to an increase of the minimum requirement in the future.

The Chairperson clarified that the phrase simply observed a tendency to comply with the bare minimum as required.

Mr Schmidt suggested that the phrase “further improvement” be qualified as being done “by the mines,” rather than by the Committee or legislature.

No agreement was reached on this point, and the Chairperson said that the final wording would be subject to the adoption of the report.

It was proposed and seconded that on page 17, the second bullet point under Heading 10, would be changed, in the last sentence, to read “Ideally this should include the levels of participation by South Africans and HDSAs as applicants for rights to minerals.”

Mr Mandela moved for the adoption of the report subject to the amendments. Mr Pikinini seconded the motion.

Mr Lorimer and Mr Schmidt both noted their objections to the Report.

The majority of Members voted to accept the Report, and it was therefore adopted, subject to amendments.

Minutes of the Portfolio Committee, 18 March 2015
The Chairperson took the committee through the Committee minutes of 18 March 2015 page by page.

The Chairperson confirmed, in relation to page 7, that there had been the necessary conferring on the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) Amendment Bill process, following a request from the Minister. This included writing to the Joint Tagging Mechanism of Parliament, who may pass the amending legislation on to the National House of Traditional Leaders; and sending it to the NCOP.

Members adopted the minutes

Minutes of the Portfolio Committee, 15 April 2015.
Members agreed to insert the word “regulator” in the heading of the fourth paragraph on page 4. Subject to that amendment, the minutes were adopted.

Committee Programme adoption
The Chairperson suggested that certain amendments needed to be made to the previous programme. - The joint meeting on 6 May could no longer be held at that time, and should be moved to 28 May (as suggested by the Portfolio Committees on Finance and Trade and Industry, respectively), thus replacing a briefing by Professor Ehrlich (Professor of Occupational Health, UCT) on recent court cases against mining companies.
- The presentation by Professor Ehrlich should provisionally be moved to 10 June, and joined with the presentation on the issue of state liability for environmental issues.
- The presentation by the State Diamond Trader on beneficiation in the diamond industry, planned for 10 June, should be moved to 13 May.
- The joint meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Labour, scheduled for 24 June, would need to be cancelled because it occurred during committee week.
- The study tour had been planned for 22 June to 3 July, and an application for approval had been submitted to this end.

Mr Schmidt noted that the address by Professor Ehrlich was important and should be prioritised.

Mr Lorimer asked that the programme for the study tour be discussed with the Committee.

The Chairperson noted that the application for the study tour had already been submitted, and expressed concerns about the inclusion of other committees in this tour.

Mr Mandela proposed the programme be adopted, noting that Professor Ehrlich’s availability should be accommodated by the Committee Secretary as far as possible.

The programme was adopted.

The meeting was adjourned.


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