The Committee Researcher briefed the Committee, prior to the presentation by the Department of Mineral Resources (the Department) on the 1st quarterly performance and expenditure report 2015, for the Department. The Department had generally done well on expenditure, but was showing 6% ‘lag’ in spending. The reason was largely due to delays in paying out transfers to support small-scale mining to the Industrial Development Corporation, and delays in filling of vacant posts and implementing salary increases. A summary was provided of the spending, extracted from extensive reports by National Treasury. Members noted that this was the first time that the Committee had seen quarterly reports, which were normally forwarded to the Chairperson, and said that they would be useful.
The Researcher then said that the Research Unit had been asked to look into the effectiveness of the Portfolio Committee since 2014. With a number of caveats, noting that it would be hard to judge this on the basis of reports presented to Parliament alone, and the difficulty in actually making amendments to the Mineral Petroleum and Development Resources Amendment Act, he was able, however, to indicate what the Committee had dealt with, and what remained outstanding. Areas which were still pending included the aftermath of the Marikana event, provision of measures to combat Illegal mining, monitoring of transformation, ongoing issues about improvements in Departmental inspection capacity and the Department's measures to enforce compliance, upliftment of mining communities, and engagement with the provinces. This pointed to a need for the Department to enhance its stakeholder engagement programme and reach out to communities. The Committee had not found space in its programme to devote attention to skills in the mining sector. The need for improved frameworks and more transparency on rights was still an ongoing concern and the Committee's questions to the Department still needed to be addressed fully, with breakdowns of the figures. Progress on illegal mining was slow and did not match the forecasts in 2014. The Researcher also noted the need for this Committee to schedule joint programmes with other committees. Women in mining had been a concern for many years but a briefing was due on 9 September.
The Department of Mineral Resources then briefed the Committee on the first quarter performance indicating that it had met or exceeded many targets. These were outlined in detail, with an indication of what was being done to address concerns. The Department was bound to two broad visions, one for 2019 and one for 2030, respectively to achieve a status as globally competitive, sustainable, meaningfully transformed mining and mineral sector and to be a leader in the transformation of South Africa through economic growth and sustainable development. The Department had spent 28.54% of budget allocation in this quarter, had set 104 targets for the whole year and achieved 76%. It described attempts to rectify the challenges in the Mine Health and Safety area, including introduction of certificates of competence. Although it fell short on audits conducted and inspections, there had been a reduction of fatalities. There had been a significant increase in numbers of women in the mining sector, following the introduction of the Mining Charter, and the Department had launched a personal protective equipment handbook and sexual harassment DVD. It was working with the Department of Higher Education and Training, Mining Qualification Authority, traditional leaders and municipalities to put skills programmes in place and had agreements to employ many of those trained.
Focus in regulation was being placed on job creation, Social and Labour Plan and development projects, implementation, and monitoring and enforcement of compliance. Job losses in the industry were discussed in a Ministerial forum and an intervention strategy and milestone plan was developed. 1 029 jobs were created, falling short of the 1 600 target, due to the economic situation. Reports on projects covered the Social and Labour Plan projects, inspections (which fell short of target but the Department was training additional inspectors), mine economics studies (again falling short of target) and legal compliance inspections. In the policy area, there had been studies done on commodity prices, and again the difficulties of the decline in employment were discussed, The Department's attempts to promote investment in the mining and petroleum sectors and the beneficiation projects were outlined. The Department also held derelict and ownerless site programme rehabilitations. Internally, it had adhered to all timeframes, compliance and implementation of risk management plans. Corporate Services briefed the committee on the events undertaken, the vacancies and attempts to fill them, public participation programmes, and the work of the legal and auxiliary services unit. Training and career guidance initiatives were also described. In the Finance Division, targets of providing efficient services to internal and external customers by ensuring system availability and ensuring that regular financial reports were delivered on scheduled time were achieved, but not all invoices were paid within the thirty days. There had been one instance of theft of assets.
Members asked about the challenges and factors that led to under-achievement and were particularly worried about the lack of capacity for inspections. The Department was asked to submit a full report on what it was doing to fill vacancies, and progress. They asked what was being done for women, and questions addressed to the position of women included whether there were regional restrictions, maternity leave, whether the extensive travel of women to work had been considered, training in particular skills and why the Department seemed to concentrate on urban training facilities. They asked about the jobs saved by the Ministerial intervention, the action taken on the theft and the reasons for non-payment within 30 days. They asked for clarification on agreements signed by stakeholders. They questioned the support offered to small enterprises and where they were located. On derelict and ownerless mines, Members wanted location details and asked whether covering with slabs would not simply attract people back to the mines to start illegal mining again. They asked about inspection of mines on care maintenance, beneficiation, the risk posed by shortage of staff, and location of activities in Eastern Cape.
Members adopted minutes from the meeting on 19 August and noted that the Committee would be engaging in activities involving other sectors.
Department of Mineral Resources 1st quarter report: Evaluation by Committee Researcher
Dr Martin Nicol, Committee Researcher, noted that the Research Unit had undertaken an analysis of the 1st quarter 2015/16 performance and expenditure Report of the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR or the Department), to be presented later in the meeting. He reminded the Committee that quarterly reports on the expenditure of departments were prepared for Parliament by the National Treasury, as required by section 32 of the Public Finance Management Act (PMFA) No.1 of 1999. He also reminded the Committee that until now, it had not been the practice of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources to consider the quarterly reports in a Committee meeting, but most were forwarded to the Chairpersons, with the exception of the 4th quarterly report which was considered in detail as the Annual Report of the Department. The full National Treasury (NT) report ran to 204 pages, but the Committee had received a summary of four pages.
The functions of the quarterly reports were to: provide a useful window into the functioning of the Department and allow the Portfolio Committee to pick up any problems before they developed into major problems.
The trend analysis may provide a basis for questioning Departmental officials on the progress of programmes for which Parliament had voted funds.
In respect of the 1st quarter report for 2015/16, he said there were no visible ‘red flags’ for the expenditure report as the DMR appeared to be largely ‘on track’ with its expenditure plans for 2015/16. By the end of June 2015 the Department spent 28.5% of its budget, compared to 28.3% spent at the end of the first quarter of the previous year, a year in which the Department successfully and properly spent exactly 100% of its adjusted budget by year-end. However, he said that National Treasury identified a 6% ‘lag’ in spending (amounting to R30.9million) against R493million planned for the quarter. He noted that the reasons for this were:
- Delays in paying out transfers to support small-scale mining to the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). This was part of the contract payment which did not go through in the first quarter. It would go through in the second quarter if the transfer was approved by the proper channels
- Personnel issues - delays in filling of vacant posts, as well as salary increases for Senior Management Service (SMS) members that have not yet been implemented. He said the Auditor General had on previous occasions pointed out that the scarcity and staffing difficulties in the Department had a direct implication on solving the problem, which had been picked up by the Auditor General before
Effectiveness of Committee since 2014: Committee Researcher's briefing
Dr Nicol then moved on to a briefing on the effectiveness of the Portfolio Committee since 2014. Such reports had been requested since the founding of this particular Committee in 2014. This report must be considered a working document. The reference point lay in the formal reports made by the Committee to the National Assembly, as tabled on the ATC. It was very difficult to judge the effectiveness of the Portfolio Committee unless a strict figure and strict performance measures were given.
He said that there have been a lot of activities in the Committee, which included:
34 Committee meetings
2 days in conferences
3 days in a strategic planning session and
6 Provinces covered in oversight visits by the Committee
The criteria for measuring effectiveness of committees should include firstly a reference to a strong Member view, that there should be concrete outcomes from the meetings of the Committee, that the Committee should not be about talking only but there should be concrete developments which came about as a result of the Committee’s intervention. In addition, the Committee should, as required by the Constitution, provide a national forum for public consideration of issues, passing legislation, scrutinising and overseeing executive action.
The Portfolio Committee in the Fifth Parliament had its inaugural meeting on 25 June 2014, in which it decided to interact with main stakeholders to understand the different viewpoints on the challenges in the mining sector. On August 2014, Members had attended the Mining Lekgotla and hosted a Committee meeting with labour stakeholders and the mining houses, Chamber of Mines, and SAMDA. It had held several engagements with traditional leaders each time the Committee had visited the provinces. The Committee was yet to cover some stakeholders who were communities affected by mining, such as the agricultural community affected by mining, environmental NGOs and the petroleum sector. The Committee formulated a strategic plan based on the issues raised in initial engagements with stakeholders, including the DMR and the entities (who attended the three-day breakaway). The plan of the Committee covered programmed activities, which included standard items on the budget, annual reports and Budgetary Review and Recommendation Reports (BRRR). They also covered key issues raised by stakeholders in 2014 and also in the 2013 comments on the MPRDA Bill.
The 2014 plan had been used to plan the Committee agenda, with flexibility for urgent issues.
He said the Portfolio Committee had not been able to attend effectively to legislation amending to the MPRDA. However, in January 2015 the President referred the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill [B15B-2013] back to Parliament, because of constitutional concerns. The Committee considered legal advice and deliberated on the issue in February 2015. The Committee noted the President’s concerns on procedural matters. Hence it instructed the Chairperson to write to the Joint Tagging Mechanism, which was done in March 2015. However, the Rules of Parliament had not allowed for a speedy resolution to the complex legal and procedural issues.
Concerns on the Committee reports, and how they had been dealt with, were grouped under various headings, as follows:
a) Research and Development to strengthen the mining sector – for this heading there had been progress on co-ordination, and a follow-up meeting was held on 12 August. However the issue of funding remains a concern.
b) Monitoring transformation in the mining sector (Mining Charter and SLPs) – had not yet been adequately dealt with but a briefing was held on 5 August with outstanding information
c) Improvements in DMR inspection capacity: Health and Safety and the Environment – this issue was still an ongoing concern
d) Measures to enforce compliance with laws, agreements and uplift mining communities were still an ongoing concern.
e) General DMR staffing and capacity issues were still an ongoing concern.
f) Communities and mining: problems for communities, provinces and traditional leaders were still an ongoing concern. He notes that in each of the meetings with the provinces, the provinces had complained about the fact that they were not adequately consulted and informed about the decisions DMR makes in respect of rights to minerals for people in the province. This was because the province would deal with any problem or disagreement that arises in the community. The Committee believed that the DMR should enhance its stakeholder engagement programme and reach out to communities, to inform them better about the processes around consultation.
g) Need for attention to be devoted to skills in the mining sector – there had been no progress on this issue due to lack of space in the agenda of the Committee.
h) Need for an improved regulatory framework and transparency in issuing rights to minerals – this was still an ongoing concern and questions raised by the Committee had not been fully answered. He gave an example of the explanation given by the Director General in one of the Committee’s meetings that 16 000 applications had been received by South African Mineral Resources Administration Database (SAMRAD) between 2011-2015. The Committee had requested a breakdown of how those 16 000 applications were distributed between applications for prospecting rights, mining rights and mining permits. The Committee also asked or more information on applications lodged, applications accepted, rights and permits granted, and how all the rights to minerals were distributed between South Africans and foreigners or multinational companies. Another question was how many mining operations were actually owned by the person or company who made the original application. The Committee believed that the annual performance plan of the DMR should ideally also include measures of performance so that the Committee can effectively monitor the performance of SAMRAD.
i) Measures to combat Illegal mining – progress here was slow and not in accordance with forecasts made in 2014.
j) The need for the Committee to schedule joint meetings with other Portfolio Committees on matters of overlapping interest – this was still an ongoing concern. The illegal use of water by illegal miners required consideration by the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation. He also noted that a better intergovernmental arrangement should be in place to stop municipalities zoning land that was subject to geohazards, as land for human settlements.
k) The need for a holistic policy to deal with the closure of mines which had environmental, human, economic and criminal aspects – this issue had been raised several times in meetings, but no progress had been made despite the urgency.
l) Dealing with the aftermath of Marikana – this was a difficult issue that had been tackled by the Committee since 2012. The decision in 2012 was that once the report of the Marikana Inquiry Commission had been issued a joint meeting would be held with the Portfolio Committee on Labour, to deal particularly with issues around mines and labour which arose from the report.
m) The need to amend the Strategic Plans and Annual Performance Plans tabled in 2015 and for these to comply with the PFMA – had not yet been attended to.
n) The Women in Mining Strategy – this issue had been before the Committee for many years and a briefing on it was scheduled for 9 September 2015.
Dr Nicol noted that the limitations of the assessment included interpretation by the Research Unit. This report must still to be considered by the Committee. He also wanted to point out that it covered only those Committee reports that were tabled in the NA. It did not reflect resolutions from the minutes of Committee meetings; if those resolutions were included they would highlight additional issues, such as the crisis of retrenchments, the developments in the Aurora fraud case, Silicosis and the ex-mineworkers, environmental law enforcement around mining and fracking, and the delay in finalising the MPRDA amendments.
Adv H Schmidt (DA) said that this was the first time he was seeing a first quarter report. He hoped that the administrative aspects would be put in line, and the substantive issues adhered to. He said it was a welcome practice but suggested that the effectiveness of the Committee would improve if Members could get a substantive response by the relevant departments or NGOs. He said that committees should follow up on their recommendations. He requested a copy of the National Treasury report, saying that Members should be able to get an objective view on the Department’s1st quarter report.
The Chairperson asked the Researcher to always make copies of reports for the Committee meetings.
The Researcher told the Committee that the National Treasury report was provided to the Chairperson of the Committee and not the Members. He also said that the reports were available on a quarterly basis.
The Chairperson said that the reports needed decisions and implementation. He urged Members to go back and look at the report so that justice would be done to the areas of concern raised by the Researcher. He reminded the Members that some of the issues raised were technical issues like joint meetings of the committees.
Department of Mineral Resources 1st quarter report: Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) briefing
Mr David Msiza, Chief Inspector of Mines, Department of Mineral Resources, apologised on behalf of the Minister and the Deputy Minister for their absence. He outlined the structure of the presentation. He noted that the Department of Mineral Resources had a three fold mandate:
- A constitutional mandate which was found in section 24 of the Constitution of South Africa
- A legislative mandate which was found in the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (Act No.28 of 2002), and the Mine Health and Safety Act (Act No. 29 of 1996)
- A policy mandate which was found in the Minerals and Mining Policy for South Africa (White Paper published in October 1998).
The Department had two broad visions to accomplish in 2019 and 2030 - to become a globally competitive, sustainable, meaningfully transformed mining and mineral sector and also to be a leader in the transformation of South Africa through economic growth and sustainable development.
The mission of the Department was to promote and regulate minerals and mining sector for sustainable economic growth and development that will benefit all South Africans. The values included, among other things, ethics, honesty, integrity, adherence to Batho Pele and accountability.
The financial performance analysis per programme and the financial analysis per economic classification suggested that the Department had spent 28.54% of its budget allocation for 2015/16 in this quarter, with a variance of 6.28%. The Department set a total of 104 targets for the fiscal year and only 76% had been achieved.
The Department identified few challenges in the Mine Health and Safety area, and had taken steps to rectify them. They included;
- Implementation of a Certificate of Competency model to improve the pass rate, to which there had now been an improvement in the pass rate with mine managers and mine surveyors' achieving their Certificates of Competence.
- The number of audits conducted: 15 were conducted compared to a set target of 99. Areas identified in the previous quarter accidents were audited, to prevent a repeat of the accident.
- Number of inspections conducted: He noted that 1840 inspections were conducted compared to a set target of 2000.
- There had been a 22% reduction in terms of fatalities in the sector.
- The Department held a Women's Conference to celebrate women in the mining sector. He said there had been a significant increase in the number of women in the mining sector as a result of the Mining Charter. The conference focused on issues affecting the health and safety of women as highlighted by the Committee and the women themselves. The Department launched a personal protective equipment handbook and a sexual harassment promotional material DVD, to assist the mining sector.
This Department worked together with the Department of Higher Education and Training and other stakeholders through the Mining Qualification Authority (MQA), and also operated with the traditional leaders to identify areas where the DMR could assist. The Department identified that many engineers and artisans were becoming unemployed and so, through the MQA, the Department had put in place skills programmes to respond to this challenge. The programmes included training of 600 unemployed youth in the OR Tambo Municipality in the Eastern Cape, training of retrenched workers and their families who had been affected by the Blyvooruitzicht Gold Mine liquidation in Gauteng, collaboration with Lonmin to train community members from the Marikana area, and an agreement with Glencore in Limpopo to train community members living around the local mining area. The Department had agreed with the municipalities to employ the 600 youth after their training.
The purpose of the mineral regulation was to regulate the minerals and mining sector, which will promote economic growth and development. The focus was on job creation, Social and Labour Plan Projects (SLP), development projects, implementation, and monitoring and enforcement of compliance.
With regard to job creation, the Minister convened a meeting for the stakeholders, unions, and chambers in mining sector on 5 August 2015, to address the issue of job losses in the industry. The parties to this meeting developed an intervention strategy with a milestone plan. A total of 1 029 jobs were created against the set target of 1600. The reason was largely to do with the economic situation.
Mr Msiza then reported on the projects implemented. A total of 31 SLP were implemented against the set target of 21. These projects included the construction of classrooms by Vuka Crushers, a water treatment plant by Exxaro and surfacing of roads by Sishen Iron Ore in Northern Cape.
In relation to monitoring and enforcing compliance, the Department, through Environmental Monitoring Programmes (EMP), conducted an inspection to ensure legal compliance. A total of 361 inspections were conducted against the set target of 600. To remedy this shortfall, the Department was now training 60 Environmental Mineral Resources Inspectors to assist in the matter. The Department also, through SLP, conducted inspections, and a total of 66 inspections were conducted against the set target of 37. The reason for the variance was due to an increased drive to enforce compliance and to address complaints received from the communities. The Department also did a number of mine economics studies, and a total of 99 inspections were conducted out of the set target of 137. The reason for the difference was the diversion of resources towards processing applications and unavailability of right holders for planned inspections. The Department also did a number of legal compliance inspections, where 84 inspections were conducted and 300 orders were issued for failure to comply with their rights.
Mr Mosa Mabuza, Deputy Director General: Mineral Policy and Promotion, Department of Mineral Resources, continued on the issue of Mineral Policy and Promotion. The purpose of the policy area of DMR was to formulate mineral-related policies and promote the mining and minerals industry of South Africa. The objective was based on research to provide relevant information to enhance global competitiveness, constantly review and amend policies when necessary, formulate legislation to achieve transformation and attract new investment in the country.
The performance of the industry, measured on commodity prices from November 2013 to April 2015, showed that the price of iron ore fell by 62%, coal price fell by 30%, platinum fell by 19% and gold fell by 6%.
The difficult faced by the industry was evident in the decline of employment. In April 2014 there were 515 000 employed workers in the sector, but in in March 2015 this reduced to 490 000. The Minister called a meeting of stakeholders to address this issue. The meeting culminated into signing of a declaration with ten point implementation plan that is intended to turn around the industry and place it on a trajectory of sustained growth for the future.
The DMR had engaged in some activities to promote investment in the mining and petroleum sectors. Two beneficiation promotional activities were targeted in this quarter, and four were achieved. One publication was targeted but two were achieved. The Department had continued to provide support to Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in particular, through small scale mining programmes, where 20 were targeted and 28 were achieved.
The Department also engaged in some activities to promote sustainable resource use and management. The Department held derelict and ownerless site programme rehabilitations, where it had targeted four but seven were achieved. A particular focus was on dangerous holdings that were in proximity to communities in Mountain View, KwaMhalanga and Mpumalanga.
The Department engaged in internal processes, in which a 95% target of adherence to timeframes was set and 100% was achieved. 100% target for adherence to the compliance framework was set and 100% was achieved, as also a100% target for implementation of risk management plans, in line with the target.
Ms Pat Gamede, Deputy Director General: Corporate Services, Department of Mineral Resources, continued on the issue of Corporate Services. Under communication, she said that her unit had been able to generate media interest in most of the seven projects held, which were the SLP projects handover of Makause combined school at Mpumalanga, the Hoofweg Computer Centre launched in Cape Town, the launching of boarding facilities at Ratanang Special School in Limpopo, Youth Day celebration with Philipstown youth in the Western Cape, the macadamia farming project, with other Deputy Ministers, in the Eastern Cape, the award ceremony of Sishen Iron Ore Mine in Kathu at Northern Cape, and the stakeholders engagement on the Department's budget vote.
The unit also engaged in public participation programmes, and implemented five :
- Springbok public participation
- Postmasburg public participation
- Ministerial engagement with Carletonville community on xenophobic attack
- Ex-mineworkers programme in Barberton & Malelane
- Engagement with Matsolo community in Mpumalanga
In the Human Resources (HR) unit, there was an attempt to always ensure that the Department would appoint the right candidate. To achieve this, the unit provided pre-employment screening for the short-listed candidates that were to be interviewed. The unit also screened service providers and contractors. The unit also helped in re-engineering and realigning of works. The unit also helped in the appointment of previously disadvantaged people, by placing adverts in newspapers. In terms of Employment Relations Management, the unit provided a number of wellness programmes. It invited professionals to assist on the Health Risk Assessment Programmes.
The Legal Unit tried to respond timeously to requests, opinions, litigation and appeals.
Auxiliary Services unit managed to deliver the materials promised, like service catalogue for services rendered.
In respect of training, the relevant unit held mining career awareness initiatives through career guidance at Setlhwatlhwe, North West, and Madiboo, North West, held on 15 and 16 April 2015 respectively. Career awareness was also carried out in universities like University of Western Cape, North-West University, Central University of Technology and Tshwane University of Technology. The unit also provided skills development strategy; it conducted career counselling in all nine regional offices. It also provided workplace learning in different areas like mineral economics, and mineral marketing.
Ms D Morabe, Chief Director: Finance, Department of Mineral Resources, spoke to the finance administration. She said the purpose of this unit was to provide strategic and administration support to Ministry and the Department through financial stewardship, accountability and transparency in the use of financial resources. The unit's strategic objectives to be met included provision of efficient services to internal and external customers, efficient and effective implementation of processes and systems, efficient and effective management of financial resources and promotion of corporate governance. The Finance Unit had achieved its target of providing efficient services to internal and external customers by ensuring system availability and ensuring that regular financial reports were delivered on scheduled time. However the unit had not met the target of payment of invoices in 30 days, which was set for the first quarter of the financial year. The matter had now been resolved and the Department would be on target for the remainder of the financial year.
The unit also achieved its target of providing efficient and effective management of financial resources. This was achieved through monitoring of budget, irregular expenditure and asset management. Only one incident of asset theft was reported. The Department had continued to raise awareness relating to physical security of asset management. The unit on Corporate Governance had prepared its financial statements and submitted these statements for auditing. The report of the Auditor General would be tabled in Parliament in September.
Nkosi Z Mandela (ANC) thanked the Department for the presentation and its achievements so far. He asked the Department for the challenges and factors that led to underachievement of most of their set targets. He asked if there were enough inspectors to carry out inspection? What was DMR doing to eliminate fatalities on mines? What modules were in place to increase participation of women, since out of 500 000 employees in the mining sector only 50 000 were women? What safety measures were in place for women in mining sector? Where were the young people trained in OR Tambo District, as the Members who visited there would like to engage with them and know what skills they had been trained in? He also wanted to know what were the factors responsible for the DMR not achieving the target of job creation? How did DMR determine the projects to be undertaken? What percentage of the profit share was invested in the community, to better their lives? What penalties were in place for failure to comply with modules of DMR? What were the outstanding positions in the Department and when was the estimated date for these to be filled. Finally, he wanted to know what DMR was doing for rural communities, since the universities where career guidance was conducted were in the urban areas.
Mr I Pikinini (ANC) commended the Department on its performance. He expressed satisfaction that women were now included in the mining sector. He asked how many lives were affected by the fatalities and whether there is any policy to deal with that. He also asked for updates on the stages of skill development. How many jobs were saved during the Retreat organised by the minister? What action was taken by DMR regarding the theft of assets? He urged the Department to work on ensuring the payment of invoices in 30 days.
Ms V Nyambi (ANC) asked question on health and safety of female miners, and asked if the Department was running any checks on the distances the women came from, in the early hours, suggesting that this was a major cause of injury. She asked what happened to women during their breastfeeding period, because the SADC barometer workshops indicated that there was no work for women during this period. She asked whether female miners were allowed to work in a province different from where they lived, and if there were radius patterns. She also corrected the spelling of Matsolo.
Ms M Mafolo (ANC) said a clarification on the agreement signed by stakeholders was needed as the President of Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) said they had not signed. She also wanted to know where support was being offered to the SMMEs, so that the Committee could look to this during oversight. She asked what the DMR was doing to try to get work for the young people, after they had been trained. She asked where the rehabilitated derelict and ownerless sites were located? Some provinces were mentioned while others were not, and so she wanted to know how DMR intended to reach them.
Mr J Lorimer (DA) asked if DMR inspected mines that were on care maintenance.
Adv Schmidt commended the Department on its achievements. He wanted to know the cause of the low employment in 2014. He asked for an explanation on what was the beneficiation promotion activity? Illegal mining was a growing problem, and he wondered if DMR's attempts to close over holes would not simply redirect the illegal miners to go back to the place.
Mr Msiza answered Mr Pikinini and said the report will be brought to the Committee. In answer to Nkosi Mandela, he said that the factors for the underachievement were linked to the economic situation. The 2 000 inspections were based on the strength of the inspectorate. In regard to the 30 day payment, he assured the Committee that the Department was trying to rectify the problem by the second quarter. A structure was being put in place to strengthen the capacity of the Department and also to monitor compliance. On the issue of having enough inspectors, the Department is training inspectors and the training would be finished by the end of the year.
In relation to fatalities, Mr Msiza agreed that this was still a concern for the DMR. He said the Department enforced the law and some mines were doing well in terms of safety and combating risk. The Department also was doing research on the mining activity impact on the communities. Through the research, DMR looked at the legislation to see if it had provisions that protected against damage to property and health and safety of the community. DMR also compared legislation of other countries like USA and Australia so as to strengthen the South African legislation. DMR had guidelines for women miners’ safety, fire, and workers were encouraged to exercise their right to withdraw from unsafe places.
On the issue of the 600 youths trained, DMR would provide information on what they had been trained on and where they were currently. He said that DMR had come up with guidelines to review and strengthen the law with regard to women’s safety. In terms of benefits accruing to workers affected by risk in the mines, DMR was looking into the issues. The Department of Labour noted that all workers should be paid minimum wage.
In terms of the distance travelled by women from home, DMR formed a forum where women were given the opportunity to engage with DMR on some issues. DMR provided transport. For pregnant women the law was clear, in that they were not permitted to go to high risk area. In relation to employment of women from other provinces, he noted that since the implementation of the Mining Charter there had been high participation of women from lower level to executive position. There were female mine managers coming from other provinces, and they were allowed to do so.
He clarified that AMCU did not sign because they indicated that it was necessary to consult with their workers but they were involved in principle.
For the youths that were being trained, Mr Msiza clarified that DMR engaged with government entities to employ these youths when they finished their training.
He assured the Committee that the DMR did inspections on mines on care maintenance. DMR prioritised inspection and it always paid attention to high risk mines and also the smaller ones. The DMR was looking into and monitoring the fatality rate.
Mr Andre Cronje, Chief Director: Mineral Regulation, DMR, spoke to the consequences for failure to comply. He noted that there were set processes, but where reasonable excuses for non-compliance were not given DMR could suspend the mines' operation. He noted that although the law did not prescribe how much should be re-invested, it was something that was being worked upon and Mr Mabuza would clarify.
Ms Gamede spoke to the vacancies and said there were 1 247 funded positions of which 153 were vacant, 85 were in the process of being filled, 48 were still to be advertised. By the end of the financial year, the 48 would be filled. There were 11 vacant posts in the Corporate Services, 8 in the Director General's office, for internal audit, ministry and compliance office, 17 in finance, 15 in policy, 47 in mineral regulation, 55 in mine health and safety. Giving a progress report, she noted that out of the 11 in corporate services, 6 were in progress of being filled, 5 out of 8 were in progress in the DG’s office, 7 out of 17 were in progress in finance, 6 out of 15 were in progress in policy, 32 out of 47 in progress in mineral regulation, 29 out of 55 in progress in mine health and safety. The levels of the vacant posts ranged from Chief Director level to (mainly) Assistant director level.
Speaking to career guidance, she said that DMR had for several years concentrated in rural areas, so that was the reason why it decided to focus on the urban areas in this first quarter. The Department also had a problem of budgetary constraints. In regard to disabled people, the unit would be asking Mine Health and Safety to assist in targeting those injured miners. The unit thought that, by going through the agencies for disabled people, DMR could target the organisations on their behalf. The unit would now go back and look at another way to attract them – and in this regard she pointed out that because of the lack of response not only from disabled people but also from certain race groups like Indians and coloured, there was a problem in attracting them. The unit was doing research to find out why it was unable to attract them.
Ms Morabe spoke to the payment of invoices, saying the main problem arose around the disputed invoices. In respect of the theft, she said full information was not provided because, after investigation, the outcome was that the official had not acted negligently therefore the Department could not cover the risk and had to write off the loss.
Mr Mabuza told the Committee that 10% representation of women represented some progress, unlike in some countries. He said that women were totally precluded from mining until the dawn of democracy, introduction of MPRDA and the Mining Charter. In regard to the percentages of SLPs to revenue, he noted that the policy did not prescribe a threshold. However, the Department had approved all SLPs for every 5 years. He also added to the comment on the radius of drawing women miners, and said that there was no prescribed radius, because DMR saw minerals as an opportunity that should be open to all South Africans including women. If the women had the credentials and skills, no matter where they came from, they would be given a fair share. He confirmed that details of the SMMEs would be made available to the Committee.
Mr Mabuza said, in regard to the meaning and scope of beneficiation promotional activities, the Department had convened a research based platform that brought in DMR, Department of Science and Technology (DST), local and international researchers to look at the development of manufacturing.
Mr Msiza spoke to visibility, saying the Department was making sure that community municipalities were made aware of what is going on in their communities. In addition, the DMR and Mine Health and Safety were making sure that slabs were not placed in places with higher risk of illegal mining.
The Chairperson reminded the Department that many of the questions were essentially directed towards the risk. He asked if the Department was comfortable with a shortfall of 153 staff, and the risk this posed, for it could not do health and safety inspections in the nine provinces with such shortage of staff. He believed the Department was moving forward but not yet at a good point. He said it seemed that the Department was comfortable with the way it managed the administrative cost drivers. He asked if the activities and works of the Department were properly located; for instance, offices and activities in Eastern Cape were in Port Elizabeth. He advised the Finance Unit of DMR to look at their costs. He asked the Corporate Services unit to give the Committee the number of vacancies, progress in terms of what stages each had reached, and in what programmes the shortages were. He asked for information on how prioritisation was applied to achieving their targets. He told them to inform the Committee of the correct number of vacancies, including new and old. He doubted that career guidance was prioritising rural areas sufficiently. He advised that the Department should improve its turnaround time. He also noted that, from the presentation, it seemed that platinum mining was neutral in terms of fatality. He requested that the Department firstly give the full names and then the acronyms on anything. He advised it to cut cost, but not efficiency.
Mr Lorimer asked if inspections were conducted on mines in care maintenance. He asked if actions were taken where fractures were found during inspection of a mine during care maintenance.
Mr Cronje responded that such mines were inspected. When there was non-compliance or fractures the owner of the mine was held responsible.
The Chairperson asked the DMR to provide the information on closures and vacancies by the following Monday
Adv Schmidt asked for confirmation which of the vacant posts were funded.
Ms Gamede said 1 200 were funded.
Consideration and adoption of Minutes of 19 August 2015
The minutes of the meeting of 19 August 2016 were adopted.
The Chairperson highlighted some points under matters arising. In this week, because of other commitments, a request was submitted to the Department of Labour and subsequently referred back to the Committee asking to be part of the delegation on the issue of ex-mine workers. It was decided that two people from ANC and one from the opposition would be selected. Mr S Jafta (AIC) said he would be available. The application had been sent and approved. The delegation would comprise members from committees on Labour, Mineral Resources and Health.
He then outlined the activities planned for 11 and 13 September in conjunction with other departments, and said that the Commonwealth 2022 would be hosted by South Africa.
The meeting was adjourned
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