The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) briefed the Committee on their Annual Performance Plans (APP) and budget for the 2018/19 financial year. The Committee was first briefed by the Auditor-General of SA (AGSA) on its interim review of the final draft of the 2018/19 APP of the Department. The briefing provided an analysis and insight for the Committee in an effort to add value to oversight. The presentation looked at the role of the AGSA in review of the APP and key considerations when reviewing the APP.
The Committee briefly questioned what an interim review was, calculations, removal of indicators and verification.
The Committee was then briefed by its researcher on the DMR APP and budget for the current financial year. The researcher took Members through reflections of the Committee’s Budget Review and Recommendation Report, performance measures of the Department and the Department’s APP for the previous financial year.
The Committee discussed the need to ensure all South Africans benefited from the mineral wealth of the country, mining companies being compelled to contribute to a sovereign wealth fund to stimulate the economy and bring growth, unachieved targets and revenue collected.
The Department then presented its APP and budget for 2018/19 (Vote 29). The presentation covered the roadmap taken towards delivering a quality assured APP, milestones achieved, situation analysis, organisational environment and challenges the Department faced. In terms of the overall performance, the Department achieved 84%.
The Committee was concerned about illegal mining and what the Department was doing to address the scourge, the capacity for inspections given the growth of mines, corruption and what the Department was doing to protect women in mines.
Members questioned compliance of the mining industry, availability of Social and Labour Plans, mining investment, filling of critical vacant posts and progress made with the Mining Charter. Other questions related to targets not achieved in the Mine Health and Safety Inspectorate and the black industrialist programme.
The MHSC then briefed the Committee on its 2018/19 APP in terms of strategic objectives and challenges facing the industry for 2018/19.
The Committee questioned amounts allocated for legal fees, reduction of fatalities, possible conflict of interest between the Chief Inspector of Mines also being the chairperson of the MHSC Board and surplus funding to consolidate different projects.
Auditor-General of SA (AGSA) Briefing on the Interim Review of the Final Draft of the 2018-19 Annual Performance Plan (APP) for the Department of Mineral Resources
Representatives from the Auditor-General of SA (AGSA) briefed the Committee on analysis of the Annual Performance Plan (APP) and Budget of the Department of Mineral Resources for the 2018/19 financial year.
The purpose of the briefing was to provide the Committee with audit insights on the interim review of the final draft of the 2018/19 APP of the Department in an effort to add value to oversight.
The AGSA played three main roles in the review of the final draft of the 2018/19 APP. Firstly, it had to understand the overall planning process. This involved checking if the final draft if the APP (after being review by the Department of Monitoring and Evaluations (DPME)) was prepare in accordance with the Framework for strategic Planning and annual Performance Plans (FSPAPP). Secondly, the AGSA had to assess measurability of indicators and targets planned for each selected programme in the final part of the draft. Finally, the AGSA had to report findings to management with expectations the findings would be addressed.
The following considerations were key when reviewing the APP:
- Was there a clear link between strategic objectives and each programme?
- Was there a logical link between mandate/legislation/ strategic objectives/ Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) actions and indicators and targets?
- Did the APP include all indicators relating to core function arising from mandate?
- Were performance targets specified for each performance indicator?
- Were quarterly reports included for indictors that needed to be reported quarterly?
- Was each performance indicator well defined, verifiable and relevant?
- Was there a technical indicator description for each indicator?
- Was each performance target specific, measurable and time-bound?
- Was there clear and reliable baseline information used for each target?
- Was the overall alignment between the budget and APP evident and clear?
Adv H Schmidt (DA) asked for clarity on the purpose of the briefing. According to the presentation, the purpose was to provide the Committee with audit insights on the interim review of the final draft 2018/19 APP of the Department in an effort to add value to oversight. Was it the interim review of the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation? Why was it an interim review? He noted the review only included the Department and not entities – why was this the case?
Ms Lufuno Mmbadi, AGSA Senior Manager, explained that it was an interim review because review processes were done before the actual APP was finalised. However all approval processes, up to a point , were done. One of the approval processes was that DPME had to review it and after the Department addressed the findings from DPME, the draft APP was then handed over to the AGSA for review. So, it was the review done before the final document was published. According to the AGSA’s agreed methodology, all departments were to be reviewed. However, in terms of entities, business units had the discretion to decide on whether to review the entities or not. In this particular case, the business unit decided not to review any of the public entities.
Mr N Paulsen (EFF) noted that in the review findings, the presentation indicated the calculation was not done in the way it should have been done - was it not the same calculation done in the previous years? Was there a change in the way the calculation was supposed to be done?
Mr M Mandela (ANC) noted that the presentation alluded to an indicator that was not accurately calculated. He asked for clarity on what caused it to be incorrect.
Ms Asanda Ndamse, AGSA Audit Manager, used the example of a new indicator that was not there in the past. If one was measuring percentage completion of inspections planned, it was important to understand how one gets to that that percentage. It could be the number of inspections that were not done divided by total inspections planned or number of inspections done divided by total number of inspections planned. It was basically about understanding what the indicator was saying. It was a matter of looking at the indicator description and understanding the purpose of the indicator and then assessing whether the method that was documented in the APP was correct.
The Chairperson did not understand the removal of one of the indicators - if it was an error, the indicators should been re-introduced in the APP instead of dropping them.
Ms Mmbadi explained why indicators were removed by giving an example of one of those indicators, namely, percentage of environmental authorisations granted within prescribed timeframe. It was not entirely the responsibility of the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) to achieve that indicator. The achievement of the indicator was dependent on other institutions as well. This was one of the reasons why the indicator was removed.
Adv Schmidt said that it was going to be a problem if the Department of Environmental Affairs was also going to decide not to report on the indicator because it also was not entirely responsible for achieving the indicator. This accountability measure was therefore going to weaken rather than strengthen the DMR, and possibly the Department of Environmental Affairs, if both departments did not include this indicator in their 2018/19 APPs.
The Chairperson asked if the indicators were taken out of the Department completely because they were irrelevant.
Ms Mmbadi said it was communicated to management that the AGSA was going to audit the APP and that relevance would be reviewed in detail. However if the AGSA concludes that the two indicators should have been included, the Department was going to be presented with the findings.
The Chairperson said that, instead of completely removing the indicator because the Department was not entirely responsible for it, the Department could have reported the indicator on the basis of how far it could go in terms of achieving it. He noted that the presentations indicated that, in terms of the means of verification, reports were expected to be used as opposed to numbers. He asked how the reports alone would assist in proving an efficient system.
Ms Mmbadi responded that looking at the APP for the mine health and safety programme, there were different measures. In isolation, the number of inspections or number of audits conducted did not mean much. However combining the numbers with the objective with different measures made the indicator much more meaningful.
Briefing by Committee Researcher on DMR Budget and APP for 2018
Dr Martin Nicol, Committee Researcher, briefed the Committee on the APP and budget of the Department for the 2018/19 Financial Year. Looking at the Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) of the Committee for the 2017/18 financial year, recommendations to Treasury were not acted upon in the budget. There was substantial investment in the Council for Geo Science (CGS) mapping and research programmes. An addition R386.3 million grant was approved however this was about one third of the request which the CGS and the DMR motivated in 2017 and which the Committee endorsed in a number of meetings held. Treasury did respond to the BRRR and it tabled a document in Parliament on 5 April which showed what the response of Treasury was.
Another reflection from the 2017/18 BRRR was that recommendations made to the Department were not present in the APP for the current financial year. The Committee made three specific recommendations in 2017. Firstly, it recommended there should be development of an Annual Report for the Environmental Mineral Resource Inspectorate (EMRI). The Department had already been producing a health and safety report but the Committee recommended there should be a similar report on the environmental side of the Department’s responsibilities. There was however no mention of this in the current APP and the Committee has received no response on the matter.
Secondly, the Committee recommended the appropriate performance measures should reflect on the role of the South African Mineral Resource Administrative Database (SAMRAD). This was one of the pillars needed for monitoring transformation of the mining industry in SA. However, in the APP, there was no measure of how the Department was performing in making mineral rights available to historically disadvantaged South Africans to transform ownership patterns in the industry.
Thirdly, the Committee recommended finalisation and implementation of the women in mining strategy which has been outstanding for almost a decade.
Regarding the performance measures of the DMR, the total number of measures was 113. Having a large number of measures gave a very considerable cover over the work of the Department. Some changes were made to measures over the years. In some cases, measures were revised, replaced or dropped. In the Promotion of Mine Safety and Health, there was one new measure.
The APP for the previous year stated that since July 2017, the DMR had tried to ensure that “100 percent of approved Social and Labour Plans (SLPs)” are made accessible to the public. However the last Annual Report Indicated modalities where still being attended to. The question was, were SLPS’s available? If so, how were they available?
Mr Paulsen said that there was the need to ensure that every South African benefited from the huge mineral wealth of the country. He suggested that mining companies be compelled to contribute to the sovereign wealth fund which would use the power of mineral resources to stimulate the economy and bring about growth. This would be to the benefit of all South Africans instead of just mining companies or communities in close proximity to mines.
Dr Nicol said the idea of the sovereign wealth fund was one which could be discussed however the Mining Charter was actually the tool granted by Parliament to the Department to ensure benefits of mining were spread around. The agreement was that the Mining Charter had not delivered on that and it was now being recalibrated. It is a major task which should be done in a better way this time as compared to last time. This was also based on the comments the mining industry had been making over a number of years. There was a provision in the Act which talked about the Department, or the state, as the custodian of mineral wealth of the country. The Department was not only there to implement laws which had to be in place. It had to ask the question, is the state being a responsible custodian of the huge mineral wealth? Is it being properly distributed? Is it being looked after for the future?
Mr Lorimer (DA) noted that the presentation gave an example of one unachieved target that was dropped. He asked if there were other unachieved targets that were dropped.
Dr Nicol could only remember one target which dropped, that of Women in Mining strategy. He would look through his records to check if there were other indicators that were dropped.
Adv Schmidt asked for more clarity regarding revenue allocated to DMR. He asked whether increasing the DMR annual would lead to an increase in the overall mining contribution to government revenue.
Dr Nicol said that an increase in the annual budget would lead to an increase in money in the mining industry but only in the long term. It was a custodianship issue. If one had a rental property and did not look after it, in 10 years the property would not be able to produce much revenue. However if the property was properly maintained it would provide much revenue in the long term.
Vote 29: Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), APP and Budget 2018/19
Adv Thabo Mokoena, DMR DG, briefed the Committee on the APP and Budget for the 2018/2019 financial year. The Department followed the following roadmap towards delivering a quality- assured 2018/19 APP:
-Firstly, the first draft was submitted to the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) on 31 August 2017
-The second Draft was submitted to the DMR internal audit and to the DPME by 30 November 2017. It was then submitted to the AGSA for review on 31 January 2018
-By 28 February 2018, the DMR Management engaged with both inputs of DPME and the AGSA and the tabling of the final draft took place on 8 March 2018
The following milestones were achieved post tabling of the 2018/19 APP:
-Mining Charter engagements with the social partners took place between 17 and 18 March 2017. There was another meeting with the social partners on 10 April. The meeting resulted in establishment of two task teams tasked with responsibilities. There was a task team on the Mining Charter and transformation and another on competitiveness and growth. The task teams were currently busy doing their work and the progress was satisfactory.
-There was ongoing Mining Charter consultation with the relevant stakeholders. DMR was collecting information, views and suggestions which would enable the Department to draft the Mining Charter
-The Minister decided to introduce an artisanal and small-scale mining Bill which was currently at the research phase. The aim of this was to enable people to participate in mining and to deal with the challenge of illegal mining
In terms of the overall performance, the Department achieved 84%.
Regarding the 2018/19 situational analysis, there was a government 14-point planned which was aimed at invigorating the economy. In the 14-point plan, the two key pillars were the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment (MPRDA) Bill and the Mining Charter. There was good progress as far as the Mining Charter was concerned. With these pillars, the Department was going to be able to deal with the challenge of uncertainty that it was currently facing. This was critical because investors wanted regulatory certainty.
In term of the organisational environment, the Department was embarking on a restructuring process which involved the business process mapping exercise. The Department was currently recruiting individuals with skills that would enable the workforce to move at the required pace.
A challenge facing the Department is the budget cuts. Budget cuts had negatively impacted operations of the Department. In response, the Department was to embark on re-organising and multi-skilling of staff and job rotation.
In terms of illegal mining, the Department was looking to fast track the rehabilitation of Derelict and Ownerless (D&O) mines and ensure that these sites were not prone illegal mining activities.
Adv Schmidt noticed that under illegal mining, the presentation alluded to “fast track rehabilitation of D&O mines” – what did this mean? One of the targets looked at the percentage of compliance by the mining industry however the five year target and audited Year-to- Date (YTD) figures were not available - this was strange as it was expected for there to be some indication of the audited YTD and targeted five-year figures.
Adv Mokoena replied that the challenge of illegal mining was a reality. The cause of the problem was that there were some D&O mines that were still open and people could easily access them. Accelerating the pace in making sure these mines were closed would help the Department. Gross capital formation in mining increased from R18 billion in 2004 to R93 billion in 2016. This was a sign of improvement and that there was still appetite for people to invest in mining.
Mr Andries Moatshe, DMR Acting DDG: Mineral Policy and Promotions, added that illegal miners went into D&O mine sites because these mines had some potential for ores remaining in them. DMR engaged with the entities, especially the Council for Geoscience, to look into all these sites which had potential remaining. It was found that some of these mines had ore. In terms of fast tracking rehabilitation of D&O mines, DMR was prioritising the D&O’s mines where there was potential for ore.
Mr Lorimer asked why the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (PASA) was not reporting to the Committee if it was getting R100 million of the DMR budget. He asked the Department to provide information concerning the Social and Labour Plans (SLPs) - who makes them available? How readily are they available? He noted one of the strategic goals of the Department was increased investment in minerals, mining and petroleum sectors - he asked DMR to provide numbers in this regard. Irrespective of how investment comes, how much additional mining investment was the country getting every year? A third of platinum mines were now harvesting. This meant they were just taking what they could from the mines without incurring any addition capital expenditure. He asked for the DMR’s views on why this was happening, how serious it was and its implication for policy.
Adv Mokoena responded that the issue of SLPs was a critical one. As the Department engaged with communities through the Mining Charter consultative meetings, the issue was sharply raised that people did not have access to the SLPs. Mining companies have these documents and they should be made available at public places so that everyone could have access to them. He assured the Committee that it was an area that the DMR was giving the high level of attention it deserves. The Department was in the process of transferring PASA from the Department of Energy, under the Energy Fund, to DMR.
Ms Rofhiwa Singo, DMR CFO, added that the Department had to request funding for PASA before the governance process was finalised as they were reaching a point of not generating any income and were unsustainable. The plan was for PASA to start reporting to DMR. However, the Department was waiting for National Treasury to finalise the listing for PASA as a public entity because it was currently a private entity.
Mr Mandela noted the Departmental Structure Overview showed 12 posts - seven of the posts were acting and five were permanent – when would the seven posts be permanently filled? The presentation alluded to the ongoing Mining Charter consultations - when Minister Mantashe was nominated to office, he made a commitment that the Mining Charter would be tabled and concluded within three months. He asked if the Committee could be given a firm commitment as to when this was going to be concluded. Regarding the Mine Health and Safety Inspectorate (MHSI), the number of measures was 20 but only 13 were achieved. He asked for an explanation of the factors that contributed to the inspectorate not achieving the seven targeted measures. According the input of the Committee Researcher, the number of mines in SA grew at six percent yet the inspectorate within the DMR had dropped by 16% -how was the Department effectively carrying out inspections? Turning to health, safety and the issue of fatality, the number of fatalities decreased from 207 in 2003 to 73 in 2015 and 88 in 2017. He asked if the Department was doing anything to ensure there was zero fatality.
Adv Mokoena responded that interviews were scheduled for next Friday for the two posts of DDG for Mineral Regulation and DDG for Policy and Promotions. The position of the Inspectorate was not yet vacant because it was headed by Mr David Msiza, who was the Chief Inspector, but was currently appointed as acting CEO of MINTEK. Regarding the post of CEO of MINTEK, the board was going to start the process of filling the post. He assured the Committee that DMR would get back to the Committee with a full report in terms of the process of filling the acting positions. The Department was committed to make sure the acting positions were done away with. The position on the Mine Health and Safety Council had recently become vacant and Mr Thabo Dube was the acting CEO. The Department was going to start dealing with the process of filling the post.
Regarding drafting of the Mining Charter, the Minister was very committed to ensuring the process was completed. Given the work done so far, the Department was optimistic the process would be completed with the period of three months.
Mr Mthokozisi Zondi, Acting Chief Inspector: DMR, stated areas that were not achieved by the Mine and Health Safety branch. One of the areas of non-achievement was the number of inquiries completed. Some of the delays in this area resulted from attorneys representing mining companies. Some of these attorneys had more than one inquiry which led to the delay in the finalisation of those inquiries. Other areas of non-achievement included reduction of fatalities and injuries (only one percent was achieved between 2015 and 2016), processing of MPRDA applications and implementation of the internal and external audit recommendations.
The Chairperson asked the CFO to state the amount needed to deal with the issue of D&O mine hotspots around the country. When would the post of Chief Inspector of Mines be filled? The Department could not advertise when the person who occupies that post was acting in another position. He then asked for clarity on the issue of the acting CEO of the Mine Health and Safety Council - the understanding was that the acting person could not be the incumbent. When someone’s post contract ended, it seemed proper to extend the contract as opposed to the letting the person act in the post. This was critical because when someone was acting, terms and conditions could change whereas when the contract was extended, they remained the same. Clarity on this matter was required.
Adv Mokoena replied that the Department only advertised two posts, namely, DDG: Mineral Regulation and DDG: Policy and Promotions. The position of the Chief Inspector was not vacant at the moment. Regarding the issue of Mr Dube as acting CEO of the Mine Health and Safety Council, the Department made a request to the Council for the post of Mr Dube to be extended for a total of six months whilst the Department was busy with the process of filling the post.
Adv Schmidt noted that the Department achieved 84% of its indicators – he recalled that this percentage was much higher in the previous financial year and asked if there was a drop in the level of achievement. He highlighted that the fixed capital formation in mining was on the increase from R18 billion in 2004 to R93 billion in 2016 - he asked the Department to provide the latest figure for 2017. Did the current APP indicate the prominence the Department was giving to resolving issues of D&O mines? He asked the Department to explain how it intended to deal with the increased importance of D&O mines in dealing with illegal mining. What type of entity PASA was going be when finally transferred to DMR?
Ms Singo responded that concerning the figures of the fixed capital formation, the presentation referred to the situational analysis at the point of preparing the APP. At that point, the Reserve Bank figures were the available ones. The Department did not have the current 2017 figures. The Department achieved 84% in the 2017/18 financial year. In the previous financial year, the Department achieved 76%. The 84% was therefore an improvement compared to the previous financial year.
Mr Lorimer wondered why there was no mention of corruption in the APP - it was clear from interactions with mining companies that corruption played a huge part in DMR operations. He asked the Department to give an opinion on what the extent of the problem was and what the Department was doing about it. There were reports that section 54 was implemented as a tool to punish certain companies. He asked if the Department recognised the problem, referring specifically to Glencor and Royal Bafokeng Platinum. How did the Department chose companies for the black industrialist programme? This system was open to corruption. He asked the Department to provide a list of names of companies chosen for the programme.
Mr Zondi responded that inspectors go out to audit and inspect mines and based on compliance of the particular mining company, the inspectors would decide to issue either a section 54 or 55. The decision was done purely on the basis of the results of the inspection and audit.
Adv Mokoena added that the focus should not only be confined to Glencor and Royal Befokeng Platinum mining companies. The Department could provide a report to the Committee on the matter because there was a problem in terms of inspection in several parts of the country. It was important to reflect broadly on the matter. He assured the Committee that he was having continuous interactions with the CEOs of the two mining companies in trying to resolve issues present.
Mr Moatshe said that in terms of the black industrialist support programme, the Department did not go out to choose who to support. Members approached the Department to apply for mining rights and the Department was there to provide assistance.
Ms Singo said that during consultations, the Department got feedback on corrupt activities. However some information received was such that the Department could not do anything until provided with evidence. The Department conducted broad risk assessment and has plans and actions to make sure that corrupt activities were dealt with. She assured the Committee that the Department takes issues of corruption and fraud seriously.
Mine Health and Safety Council Annual Performance Plan 2018/19
Mr Thabo Dube, MHSC Acting CEO, and Ms Karabo Mkwanazi, MHSC CFO, briefed the Committee on the entity’s APP and budget for the 2018/19 financial year.
There were six strategic objectives listed in the APP – three mainly focused on improving the manner in which the MHSC conducted business of advising the Minister by conducting research in an effective and efficient way. These objectives included:
- Developing four legislative advisory notes for submission to the Minister
- Developing four advisory notes Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) from the CEO for submission to the Minister
- Developing four advisory notes on OHS Summit Action Plan for submission to the minister.
To deal with challenges facing the industry for 2018/19, the MHSC came up with a number of projects to assist the industry in terms of overcoming health and safety challenges. One of the projects deals with the management of seismic events. This project dealt with the expansion of the South African Seismograph Network (SANSN) into the Bushveld Complex, an area where most of the platinum was coming from. There was an indication that in terms of the depth of mining, there was a likelihood that the area was going to be experiencing seismic events.The MHRC was also going be developing guidelines for training of occupational health and safety representatives, union shop stewards and safety officers in the SA mining industry to make sure that they were empowered to be effective.
The MHSC was also focusing on issues of silicosis and lung diseases. One of the key projects the entity was focusing on was real time monitoring. With this system there was no need to wait for the collection and analysis of a sample. Real time indications would be collected in terms of levels of exposure to ensure that a control measure was immediately implemented.
Under occupational health, the key project that the MHSC was focusing on was information management system. The entity was going to be working with the National Institute of Occupational Health. The National Institute of Occupational Health already had a system that was working. The MHSC was looking to make improvements or add functionalities to the system.
Mr Mandela noted that the overview of the approved budget indicated that R1.2 billion was allocated to legal fees however the Committee had not come across any legal issues associated with the Mine Health and Safety Council – what did these legal fees allude to? He noted the presentation talked about the aim to reduce fatalities by 2020 however there were systems and technologies in place to ensure this reducation was a reality. The trend shows the level of fatalities decreased from 77 to 73 but had now increased to 88. He asked the MHSC to explain what it was doing to ensure that fatalities were reduced to zero.
The mistreatment of women working in mines continued to be a concern. Women usually fall victim to rape by male counterparts. The Committee has however not heard any harsh decision taken by the MHRC to deal with the issue. For instance, no dismissal case had been heard of when a mine worker was charged with rape. In terms of working hours, women had to get to mines early to make it for the morning shift. Travelling to the mine sites was also a challenge to women in the industry. He asked the MHSC what it was doing to ensure that women were protected and secured.
Mr Zondi responded that the Department issued a directive to mining companies on what to do to improve safety and security of women. One of these was to ensure that women should never work alone but in pairs to ensure security. There was a recent incident where a man entered one of the mines and committed a sexual offence against a female worker. The main concern was that the mine did not control access to the mine premises. Mines needed to make sure that unauthorised individuals did not gain access to the mine.
Mr Dube added that the Department was at a point of developing guidelines that would guide mines on policies and measures that needed to be in place to ensure safety and security of women in mines. Unfortunately the guidelines were not completed. However, it was anticipated that they would be completed in the third quarter of the current financial year.
Ms Mkwanazi said that the MHSC used an external legal entity. This year, the Department was planning to provide four legislative advisory notes to the Minister and four advisory notes on the OHS Summit Action Plan for submission to the Minister. The main focus was to ensure the Department received legal opinion and advice to the Minister was within applicable legislation. The legal fees were associated with the legal issues together with consultation the Department received.
The Chairperson believed that the norm within the MHSC was that the Chief Inspector of Mines was automatically the Chairperson of the Board. The CEO was directly accountable to the MHSC division within the Department. There could then be possible conflict of interest between the CEO and Chief Inspector of Mines. Any legal disputes between the CEO and Chief Inspector might be taken to the Board meeting where the Chairperson, who was also the Chief inspector, had more power over the CEO. He asked if a different model could be developed where the Chief inspector was not automatically made Chairperson of the Board.
The Chairperson suggested the MHSC use surplus funding to consolidate different projects the MHSC was conducting in different institutions by developing a facility that would achieve a specific goal. This would prevent a situation where different projects developed their own facilities with the aim of achieving the same goal. The risk was that all projects would discover the same thing using the same money. He encouraged the Department to consider this suggestion.
Mr Zondi replied that the relationship between the Chairperson, Chief Inspector of Mines and CEO of the MHSC would be more of a synergy as opposed to conflict. The Chief inspector had a very good understanding of challenges the mining industry faced and the MHSC was established to assist the Department in making sure those challenges were addressed.
The current skills base was not adequate to address some of the challenges the Department faced. For example, there was no seismologist who was currently working in the Department. There was a need to ensure that going forward, there was capacity within the Department to be able to manage seismic risk. Some of the mining companies were mining at a depth of about 4 500m and the biggest risk there is seismic. However, the Department did not have the skills necessary to handle such risk. The Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) was going to introduce programs that would ensure more seismologists were trained both inside SA and internationally.
Mr Dube added that Department identified facilities that were going to be funded using the surplus. These were the unique facilities within the intended institutions. Companies would be encouraged because discounts will be offered to mining stakeholders in terms of using the facilities. This would also discourage other entities from establishing similar facilities.
The meeting was adjourned.
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