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MINERALS AND ENERGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
17 June 2003
MINING TITLES REGISTRATION AMENDMENT BILL: DELIBERATIONS & FINALISATION
Chairperson: Mr M Goniwe (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Mining Titles Registration Amendment Bill
Proposed Amendments (as of 18 June)
The Department of Minerals and Energy presented additional amendments to the Mining Titles Registration Amendment Bill. The Committee briefly discussed these amendments and agreed to each clause during formal consideration. Having formally considered the Bill, the Committee decided to pass the Bill the following day, 18 June 2003, after the State Law Advisors had clarified the Committee's outstanding concerns.
Ms L Xingawana (ANC) acted as co-Chair during the meeting. She welcomed Adv S Nogxina, Director General: Department of Minerals and Energy (DG), and requested that the Department review the new amendments to the Bill.
The DG stated that, after the public hearings, the drafting team had met with both the stakeholders concerned and drafted additional amendments to deal with the issues they had raised. Ms S Bopape-Dlomo, Director: Mining Rights, then reviewed the new amendments with the Committee.
Ms Xingawana asked Ms Bopape-Dlomo to explain the implications of the apparently small words and phrases that were being changed or added.
Ms Bopape-Dlomo answered that the small changes were mostly inconsequential and that, in most cases, they were the result of an oversight.
Mr B Bell (DA) said that he was concerned about Clause 5, giving the DG the right to destroy records that had been cancelled. There seemed to be no constraints on the DG's power to destroy documents.
Ms Bopape-Dlomo replied that the DG would not have the power to make this decision on his own. He would be required to consult with the head of archives before destroying any documents.
The DG assured the Committee that he would be extremely careful in exercising discretion in this matter.
Mr S Mongwaketse (ANC) asked the Department to explain the continuation of existing rights during the transitional period.
Ms Bopape-Dlomo explained that Sections 11 and 12 of the principal act (the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act) (MPRDA) dealt with the issues of the transitional period.
With regard to Clause 16, Ms Xingwana asked if this clause interfered with marriage rights that are protected in the Constitution.
Ms Bopape-Dlomo answered that the Department had been told that the clause was legally sound.
The DG added that, although a mining right might not be part of the joint estate, a husband and wife could apply separately to be title holders.
Mr N Ngcobo (ANC) noted the relevance of Clause 16, which dealt with the Bill's most important objective. This was to ensure that the State controlled mining rights.
Mr Bell expressed concern about this clause. The State should not interfere with the established laws of succession.
Ms Xingawana stated that this clause was necessary if a situation in which a few families had owned all South Africa's mineral rights for centuries was to be addressed.
Mr Mongwaketse said that the State should own these rights.
Mr Bell said that the State would own these mining rights. However, if a person with mining rights passed away, their next in line should be able to control these rights.
The Chair asked whether, in such circumstances, the next in line could apply to be considered when decisions about access to the mining rights concerned were made.
The Department replied that it would not be possible to inherit special treatment. Descendants would have to apply and meet the specified requirements.
Mr Mongwaketse asked about Clause 29, which specified the procedure for transferring mining rights. He asked if it would be possible for large, privately owned companies to complete the transfer within ninety days as specified.
Ms Bopape-Dlomo replied that it would simply be their duty to lodge the application for registration within ninety days.
After a brief break, the Chair said that the State Law Advisors had conferred and were generally pleased with the Bill. They would have to apply their minds to one area, however, and report back to the Committee the following day (18 June 2003).
The Committee formally considered the Bill. The Chair read the motion of desirability. Every clause was agreed to, as amended.
Mr Mongwaketse asked, with regard to Clause 6, when an applicant would be required to submit a diagram and when he should submit a plan.
Ms Bopape-Dlomo answered that, for an application, only a plan would be required. For registration, a diagram would be necessary.
Mr Bell again expressed concern about the DG's power to destroy documents.
The Department agreed to give the Committee a copy of regulations prescribing the process the DG would need to follow in order to destroy documents.
The Chair said that the Committee would reconvene the following day in order to attend to outstanding issues and pass the Bill.
The meeting was adjourned.
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