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MINERALS AND ENERGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
5 February 2003
MINING TITLES REGISTRATION AMENDMENT BILL: BRIEFING
Documents handed out:
Presentation on the Mining Titles Registration Amendment Bill
Mining Titles Registration Amendment Bill
The Mining Titles Registration Amendment Bill is intended to serve as a platform to enable the policies contained in the Mining Titles Registration Act and the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act to be successfully implemented. The amendment enables an orderly conversion during the transition when custodianship of mineral resources is given to the state. The Bill has been approved by Cabinet and will shortly be tabled in Parliament.
Briefing on Mining Titles Registration Amendment Bill
The Committee was briefed on the Bill by the Department of Minerals and Energy, represented by Ms P Bopane-Dlomo, Director: Mining Rights, and Mr R Rapula. They noted that Cabinet has already approved the Bill and it is now to be tabled in Parliament.
Ms Bopane-Dlomo noted that the Bill is intended to serve as a platform by means of which the policies contained in the Mining Titles Registration Act (MTRA) can be successfully implemented. The amendments are also necessary to ensure consistency with the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002. The MTRA also needs to be aligned to new policy and legislative requirements, especially those around the centralisation of information. The Amendment Bill will provides for the conversion of old order rights and registration of new order rights.
The central objectives of the MTRA, the principal Act, are to regulate the registration of mining titles and other rights connected with prospecting and mining, stand titles and other deeds. The Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) provides for a policy shift by giving custodianship of mineral resources to the state. The Amendment Bill would make it possible for the Act to manage the conversion process throughout this five year period.
The Amendment Bill will also provide support for the implementation of the MPRDA by creating a deeds and information service at a central place in South Africa. It will also enable the setting up of a central registration office for all mining and prospecting rights.
Mr I Davidson (DP) acknowledged that this is an important Bill, which needs to be processed as a matter of urgency to ensure implementation of the policies formulated in the principal Act. He then asked how far the process has gone and whether public submissions would be invited.
The Chair noted that the decision to convene public hearings lies with the Committee and not the Department. Since the Department has no power to order the Committee to do so, the Committee should decide on what should be done in the circumstances.
Mr A Nel (NNP) asked what the Department meant when its state that the legal consequences of no amending the Act would result in unconstitutional wiping way of rights.
Ms Bopane-Dlomo responded that when the Department raised the issue of constitutionality it was merely indicating how crucial it is that the Mining Titles Right Act be amended, since it does not provide for the registration of new order rights.
Mr M Ramodike (UDM) noted an earlier comment that the security of tenor would be compromised, he then asked whether this would be in terms of old rights connected to the acquisition of land.
Ms Bopane-Dlomo replied that since MTRA does not provide for the registration of new order rights then the security of tenor is immediately compromised. This is due to the fact that the Department had promised that it would come up with a registration office that would give bankable titles to the holder. Since the Department is taking away the rights that were initially administered by the Department of Land Affairs then a provision to that effect should be enacted, since this may have legal consequences.
Mr B Bell (DP) asked how far the Department has gone in acquiring the data bank of all mining rights, since it is only through that that it would know what it is taking away. So therefore would the data bank be in place when the process commences.
Ms Bopane-Dlomo responded that since this question relates to capacity and budget, the Department is of the view that it is ready and able to process the transitional period in an orderly fashion since it has just been restructured. It has already started the process of verification, jointly with the industries, to determine the owners of the rights and the kinds of rights they owned. Preparations are already in place for the conversion of rights.
The Chair pointed out Mr Davidson's earlier question whether the key stakeholders and role players played any role in shaping the Bill, especially by looking at its technical aspects.
Ms Bopane-Dlomo responded that as at this stage they had only consulted with the Deeds Office and had not had formal discussion with the industries. However they have been in constant consultation with the Legal Services.
The Chair asked whether do they intend formally consulting the industries before finally tabling the Bill.
Ms Bopane-Dlomo said the Department hoped that they would have formal consultations with all the industries.
Mr Davidson noted that this is a key issue since it would determine whether the Committee should call a public hearing or not as this Bill involve technical issues.
The Chair concurred with Mr Davidson and noted the importance of such consultation. It would contribute to the quality of the Bill by ensuring that there was consensus from all parties involved.
The meeting was adjourned.
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