Annual Reports 2017/18
Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) noted that DMR and its entities had all received unqualified audits. Mintek and MHSC were the only two entities that had received clean audits while all the others had unqualified audits with findings. Mintek had consistently received clean audits over the last four years. DMR and State Diamond Trader had received clean audits the previous year but had since regressed. Audit findings included not complying with legislation and irregular expenditure of R11.6m.
The Committee Researcher gave an analysis of the DMR 2017/18 Annual Reports looking especially at performance indicators, administrative bungling within the Department and the drastic decline in the performance of the Mineral Regulation Branch. A key factor influencing DMR’s performance was that it had been under resourced over the past five years. Another key concern was that none of the Committee recommendations from the 2016/17 Budgetary Review process had been included such as:
▪ development of an annual report for the new Environmental Mineral Resources Inspectorate (EMRI)
▪ performance measures on role of the SA Mineral Resources Administration System (SAMRAD)
▪ finalisation and implementation of the strategy for Woman in Mining.
The Director General led the DMR Annual Report presentation looking at the performance highlights and audit outcomes the five programmes - Corporate Services, Financial Administration, Mine Health and Safety Inspectorate, Mineral Regulation and Mineral Policy and Promotion. The DG said that the Department was required to contribute to the economy and was doing the best it could despite the limited resources that provided numerous challenges. The mining industry was contributing 8% to GDP and responsible for about 462 000 jobs. A key strategic objective was to retain and increase jobs. Regulatory certainty was an important factor to encourage and facilitate this. DMR wanted increased investment in the minerals sector and transformation of the sector and to achieve this, it had to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of its operations.
Some of the key points in the DMR presentation by the five branches were:
▪ Corporate Services - granting of 40 bursaries against a target of 20, the successful coordination of the stakeholder engagements on the Mining Charter and making strides in filling vacancies.
▪ Financial Administration - systems availability 95% of the time; suppliers were all paid within 30 days and financial reports were delivered on time. An important indicator was to ensure all spending was aligned with allocated budgets. The CFO provided detail on the irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
▪ Mine Health and Safety Inspectorate - despite acute challenges in the industry, there was collaboration with all stakeholders to improve health and safety to reduce fatalities, injuries and diseases. Exposure to airborne pollutants had decreased consistently from 2009 levels, similarly noise reduction. Occupational lung diseases had shown a 50% decline since 2010.
▪ Mineral Regulation - Although a fair number of performance targets were met, there were key areas where targets were not met. These included no fines issued to mines for environmental liability and risk, only 25% of complaints were attended to and only 23% of monitoring and regulatory compliance cases were addressed, within prescribed time frames, due to administrative constraints.
▪ Mineral Policy and Promotion - regulatory uncertainty had contributed to performance such as withdrawal of the MPRDA and the long delay in finalising the Mining Charter. However, good progress had been made on the shale gas research programme and details were provided.
The Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) said its focus was to ensure that every mine worker returned home from work unharmed every day. It reported on its programmes and finances
Members asked what was being done to curb illegal mining; about addressing the backlog of licences; what was behind the poor performance of the Minerals Regulation branch; what was being done about those who did not procure enough locally manufactured goods and materials as prescribed by the Mining Charter; by when the shale gas research would be concluded; the volume of gas in the test borehole; why there were fewer section 54 notices than the previous year; plans for the MHSC surplus funds and what was being done to retain the graduates trained by MHSC.
The DMR Director General gave an apology for the Minister being unable to attend the meeting. The Chairperson noted the apology but would have preferred if the Minister had attended to enable the Committee to engage with him as the political authority within DMR.
Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) briefing on DMR 2017/18 audit outcomes
Ms Lufuno Mmbadi, AGSA Senior Manager, noted the examination of three key areas that governed the audit process: the fair presentation and reliability of the financial statements, the reliability and credibility of the performance information of department objectives and compliance with legislation on finances and performance management. Key aspects flowing from the audit process was to monitor and report on accountability within DMR and its entities - the “plan, do, check and act “ process - the planning and defining of targets, executing these (do), monitoring these (check) and acting on the findings (consequence management).
DMR and all its entities – State Diamond Trader (SDT), SA Diamond and Precious Metal Regulator (SADPMR), Council for Geoscience (CGS), Mintek and MHSC – had received unqualified audits. Mintek and MHSC were the only two that had received clean audits. Mintek had consistently received clean audits over the last four years. DMR and SDT received clean audits the previous year but had since regressed.
The assessment of the “plan, do, check and act” within DMR indicated that most of the performance measures remained unchanged. However there were four areas where it had regressed:
▪ status of audit action plans
▪ overall internal controls
▪ basic financial and performance controls
▪ authority and assurance provided by senior management/accounting officers.
Some of the key findings of the audit were some entities did not comply with legislation and irregular expenditure of R11.6m had been incurred. On the quality of financial information, DMR had two or more unfavourable indicators while all other entitles had two or less unfavourable indicators. This was unchanged from the previous audit period. The finding on irregular as well as wasteful and fruitless expenditure was confined to the DMR, SDT, SADPMR and CGS. However the bulk of this amount (R10m) was for DMR and was related to the rental of premises. The most common findings on supply chain management (SCM) non-compliance was due to local content minimum thresholds not being adhered to (CGS) and not inviting competitive bidding for services/goods (DMR).
AGSA found the root causes for the audit findings were due to two key aspects:
▪ instability or vacancies in key positions
▪ slow response by management (accounting officers/senior management) to address risks and improve internal controls.
Recommendations to improve the audit outcomes:
▪ There had to be timely consequences for officials that deliberately or negligently ignored their duties and contravene legislation. Decisive action had to be taken against transgressors.
▪ The Committee had to monitor the implementation of commitments by accounting officers and the Executive Authority.
▪ The Committee should request management to provide feedback on progress of audit action plans to ensure an improvement in audit outcomes.
Mr H Schmidt (DA) was disappointed with the regression of DMR, specifically in its leadership and oversight over its entities. He asked for clarity on the audit outcomes and whether these were related to DMR’s responsibility in respect of the other entities. He asked for more detail on the fruitless and wasteful expenditure as well as the SCM matters that were raised.
Ms Mbadi replied that each entity was evaluated on its own; however DMR had executive authority over the whole portfolio. Overall responsibility for entities rested with the accounting officers. She indicated that DMR’s oversight could be improved. On the SCM findings, one of the findings was not material but three were material. The irregular expenses were related to the procurement of services without a contract being in place (SDT) and DMR had leased buildings according to the approved procurement process, but the leased building was not occupied. The fruitless and wasteful expenditure (R6m) related mainly to DMR due to the refurbishment of unoccupied premises and SDT incurred R31 000 cell phone charges.
Mr Schmidt wanted clarity on the evaluation of DMR and the DG as the accounting officer. He asked what the basis was for the evaluation of the Committee.
Ms Mbadi replied that DMR received an unqualified audit with findings that were related to processes that had to be implemented to ensure that DMR addressed the audit concerns raised. In respect of Performance Management, DMR had acted upon the concerns raised and where material findings were raised, these were also acted upon. The evaluation of the Committee was based on its interrogation of annual performance plans, the budgetary process and its administrative systems to manage this and related matters.
The Chairperson said that the AGSA had raised some serious issues although the overall audit outcome (clean and unqualified with findings) painted a relatively good picture. He asked what could be done to ensure that the Committee was able to act before the “alarm bells” were ringing as was the case here with some of the audit findings, particularly where there had been regression. Could the example of Mintek be used within the portfolio to improve the audit outcomes of the other entities? He wanted more detail on the irregular expenses incurred for the offices in Mpumalanga and what actions were taken to address the problem - were there dismissals, was fraud committed and was money recouped? What financial controls are in place?
Ms Mbadi replied that audit findings and non compliance within the portfolio over the last few years were based on different factors. The entities were defaulting on different aspects year on year - it could be financial systems in one year and SCM the next year. However, there were some specific actions that would address the unfavourable audit findings such as appointing a full time CFO in SADPMR. She agreed that CFOs could meet amongst themselves to learn from Mintek.
AGSA engaged with DMR on a continual basis, hence it expects DMR to implement agreed actions to address concerns raised so that by year end when the audit was concluded there should not be any “alarm bells” or adverse findings.
Ms Mmbadi advised that the irregular expenditure of R6m for office accommodation refurbishment in Mpumalanga and Cape Town was due a lack of proper oversight by DMR. AGSA recommended that the matter be investigated fully and this had been done and was still ongoing. The resultant consequence management implemented by management on this would be reflected in the 2018/19 audit.
The Chairperson said the Committee required straight answers on matters that were of concern. It would require political input to address areas where regression had occurred. All had to work collectively to improve audit outcomes.
Committee Researcher analysis of Department of Mineral Resources 2017/2018 Annual Report
Dr Martin Nicol briefed the Committee on his analysis of the Annual Reports that focused on performance indicators, administrative bungling within the Department and the drastic decline in the performance of the Mineral Regulation Branch. He said that a key factor influencing DMR’s performance was that it was under resourced and that this had been the case over the last five years.
He highlighted the achievements which included an unqualified audit, improved engagement with stakeholders, 81% achievement of performance indicators, 6% decrease in injuries and the continued decrease in occupational diseases reported by mines.
All departmental programmes from Administration, Mine Health and Safety, Mineral Policy and Promotion had achieved performances above 81% with the exception of Mineral Regulation that had regressed to 59% from a score of 90% the previous year.
Problem areas in the Mineral Regulation Branch included poor turnaround times for applications (only 23% achieved) and the dreadful management of environmental risks (0% of fines issued). There were also some anomalies in the reported data i.e. no data/unclear information on the reduction of the state’s environmental liability and risk; 0% achievement on the implementation of transformation legislation for mining right holders; and inadequate data to assess that mines were operating with adequate financial provision.
The Committee Researcher highlighted concerns about general administration within DMR such as SAMRAD (South African Minerals Administration Database) granting of minerals rights and the need for an annual report from the Environmental Mineral Resources Inspectorate (similar to that received from Mine Health and Safety Inspectorate). He pointed out that none of the Committee recommendations made during the 2016/17 Budgetary Review had been included in the 2017/18 outputs:
▪ development of an annual report for the new Environmental Mineral Resources Inspectorate (EMRI)
▪ performance measures on role of the SA Mineral Resources Administration System (SAMRAD)
▪ finalisation and implementation of the strategy for Woman in Mining.
Dr Nicol spoke about administrative bungling in DMR that impacted negatively on the industry. These often meant that mineral development was delayed for years or even stopped as opportunities were missed. This had the additional negative impact of delaying the creation of jobs. The term “administrative bungling” was based on the phrase used by Judge Ponnan in reference to DMR, during the 2017 SCA judgment in Pan African Mineral Development Company & others v Aquila Steel. Some of the administrative bunglings were:
▪ mistaken double granting of mineral rights to different companies over the same land
▪ failure to convert old order rights to mining rights as required by the MPRDA.
▪ disruptive effect of the unreasonably long delays in DMR decisions which impacted negatively on many companies (such as De Beers waiting two years to be granted prospecting rights and AEMFC, the state owned mining company, having to delay development plans because of administrative delays).
▪ weak internal systems that led to the incorrect cancellation of mining rights resulting in an unnecessary court case (Palala Resources v Mineral Resources & others).
Mr J Lorimer (DA) asked if there were other examples similar to the Palala case.
Mr Schmidt was particularly concerned about the DMR targets that could be termed non-sensical such as 0% score for transformation compliance. He asked what the problem was. Mineral Regulation was of critical importance in the sector and if it was not working, the sector could not function properly. It had to be sorted out as a matter of urgency.
Mr Lorimer said that Section 24(g) of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) had to be followed in all instances. This had been finalised in 2014 and it seems it was still not operational in the Department.
Mr Schmidt commented that if all applications were done online on SAMRAD, it would be much easier to administer.
The Chairperson remarked that the Committee now had two resources - one from AGSA and the other from its Committee Researcher - to help it in assessing the DMR’s performance according to its 2017/18 Annual Performance Plan. A way had to be found for them to assist one another to address the challenges raised.
Department of Mineral Resources 2017/2018 Annual Report
Adv Thabo Mokoena, DMR Director General, said that the Department was required to contribute to the economy and was doing the best it could despite the limited resources that provided numerous challenges. The mining industry was contributing 8% to GDP and responsible for about 462 000 jobs. A key strategic objective was to retain and increase jobs. Regulatory certainty was an important factor to encourage and facilitate this. DMR wanted increased investment in the minerals sector and a transformed sector and to achieve this, it had to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of its operations.
The Department had healthy controls in place. Its Audit Committee has done very well to inform management of business risks and how to mitigate these. 84% of performance targets had been met and this did not just mean the “ticking of boxes”. DMR had published the Mining Charter to increase regulatory certainty in the industry and according to him, this was warmly received.
On the irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure within DMR, the allegations of transgressions were thoroughly investigated once management was informed of these and action was taken where necessary. The investigation was ongoing. The matter was related to refurbishments of office premises in Cape Town and Mpumalanga. One official had been dismissed, the matter had been reported to the police and the Department would try to recoup the misspent monies.
Ms Patricia Gamede, DMR DDG Corporate Services, noted that DMR corporate services included programmes such as contribution to skills development, sustainable development of vulnerable groups, communication of DMR programmes to stakeholder and the attraction, development and retention of skills.
All programme targets had been met and some exceeded except in two areas: implementation of management action plans (only half of targeted vacancies filled) and risk management plans where only 78% of targets were met (this had since been addressed).
The highlights for the year included the granting of 40 bursaries against a target of 20, the successful coordination of the stakeholder engagements on the Mining Charter and making strides in filling vacancies (certain critical posts were filled in March 2018).
Ms Rofhiwa Singo, DMR CFO, said all performance targets were met but some aspects of customer satisfaction were not fully met due to systems constraints. This would be addressed in 2018 as a fully integrated system was being implemented. She emphasised that all departmental budgets were fully utilised.
She commented on the irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure. The irregular expenditure of R10m was due to a misunderstanding between the Department of Public Works and DMR about 2014 lease agreements. Both DMR and Public Works were actively searching for new office premises and DMR procured office accommodation on month to month basis while Public Works searched for a permanent solution. Public Works did not inform DMR once it had found a building so the matter was an SCM contravention. The finding of fruitless and wasteful expenditure was due to office refurbishment in Mpumalanga and Cape Town and could be viewed as fraud as payments were made for “non existent” buildings
Ms Singo noted the following highlights for the year - all systems were available 95% of the time, suppliers were all paid within 30 days and financial reports were delivered on time. Another important indicator was ensuring that all spending was aligned with the allocated budgets.
Mine Health and Safety Inspectorate
Mr David Msiza, DMR Chief Inspector of Mines, said key achievements included the promotion of health and safety, contribution to skills development, improved turnaround times and the implementation of service level agreements (SLAs). Despite acute challenges in the industry, there was collaboration with all stakeholders to improve health and safety on the mines that led to the reduction of fatalities, injuries and diseases.
Since 2008 there had been a steady decline in fatal accidents on mines but during 2016/17 there had been a slight increase and MHSI was working with the sector to address this regression. A key concern was the fall of ground (FOG) that occurred mainly in the deeper gold mines and strategies were in place to address this by developing rock engineering capacity in the industry
There had been an overall improvement in number of injuries in the mining sector with gold and other commodities showing improvement but there were some regression within coal and platinum. Exposure to airborne pollutants had decreased consistently from 2009 levels, similarly noise reduction. Occupational lung diseases had shown a 50% decline since 2010.
The MHSI learner inspector training programme had recruited 50 learners in 2014 in various engineering disciplines (50 male and 20 female) and 25 recruits had since qualified and been absorbed in DMR in the disciplines of electrical and mechanical engineering, surveying, mining engineering and occupational hygiene.
Adv Mmadikeledi Maleba, DMR DDG Mineral Regulation, said the programme’s key contributions were to promote job creation, reduce the state’s environmental liability, and monitor and enforce compliance.
Although a fair number of performance targets were met, there were substantial key areas where targets were not met. According to Adv Maleba, all targets related to reducing the state’s environmental and financial risk had been met - this was based on the number of mines visited during the year. Targets for creating black industrialists and the enforcement of procedures to collect arrear prospecting fees were met as well.
However there were some key areas where performance fell short such as:
▪ no SLPs (Social and Labour Plans) were approved due to the delay in finalising the Mining Charter
▪ only 5 732 jobs were created vs a target of 7 000
▪ no fines were issued to mines in terms of environmental liability and risk
▪ only 25% of complaints received were attended to within the prescribed time frames.
▪ only 23% of monitoring and regulatory compliance cases were addressed within the prescribed time frames due to administrative constraints.
Mineral Policy and Promotion
Ms Faith Ngcwabe, DMR DDG Mineral Policy and Promotion, noted the programme’s objectives included contribution to economic growth, promotion of mining investment in SA, promotion of sustainable mining and measures to transform the mining industry.
Ms Ngcwabe said regulatory uncertainty had contributed to the unit’s performance, for example, the withdrawal of the MPRDA after the long period of negotiating with the industry. Regulatory uncertainty was probably also the reason there had been no new significant mining and minerals investments in the country. However there were programmes in place to address regulatory uncertainty such as the publishing of the new Mining Charter.
Some of the Mineral Policy and Promotion programmes targets were achieved: investment promotion events and workshops (55 planned and 56 actually held), 96 SMMEs supported and a number of social dialogues was held with stakeholders. Strategic partnerships were also being pursued with international partners such as Russia. Targets related to promoting the sustainable use of resources had numerous successes: 43 ownerless and derelict mines had been rehabilitated (target was 45) as well as the development of environmental management tools. The budget of around R100m to rehabilitate mines was inadequate as there were a large number of derelict and ownerless mines.
The DDG highlighted some of the successes achieved by the branch were the development of the Mineral Promotion strategy and the review of the Mining Charter. There had been some good progress on the shale gas research project near Beaufort West with five monitoring boreholes drilled. Fresh water resources had been recovered from these boreholes, up to 20.7m litres per month for one borehole. About 691 200 litres of water had been made available to the Beaufort West Municipality. One monitoring borehole intercepted gas at a depth of about 1 402m. These initial results support the view of shale gas being a potential game changer for South Africa’s economy.
The next phase would be to drill a 3.5km deep borehole to intercept the shale gas host rocks. This would be followed by a one km long horizontal deflection off the main borehole to test the fracking of sediments. Funding for the deep borehole had been secured but funding for the horizontal fracking section still had to be sourced. The Department would be briefing Cabinet on shale gas in the next week. The moratorium on shale gas would remain until the information gleaned from the research project has been evaluated. The shale gas regulations had been published but these had been appealed and it is currently before the courts.
Adv Mokoena concluded by saying that moving forward, the Department wanted to ensure that there were no reoccurrence of the adverse audit findings in the future.
Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) 2017/18 Annual Report
Mr David Msiza, MHSC Board chairperson, said that the CEO would brief the Committee on programmes in MHSC that strived to ensure that every mine worker returned home from work unharmed every day. He invited the Committee to the Mine Health and Safety Summit on 18 and 19 October 2018.
Mr Thabo Dube, MHSC CEO, said that the MHSC acted as an advisory body to the Minister on matters related to mine health and safety. This included advice on legislation and regulations, research projects at the MHSC Centre of Excellence (CoE) and action plans emanating from the mine health and safety summit.
Advice on legislation and regulations included explosives regulations, guidelines to mitigate geotechnical risk in mines, and guidelines for an occupational health programme for personal exposure to airborne pollutants. Some of the advice on research projects at the CoE related to minimising the risk of seismic activity, development of rock mass assessment tools to ascertain the stability of rocks and the development of minimum standards in SA for ground vibration, noise and air blast.
A key MHSC initiative was to improve the health and safety of woman in mining (WIM) due to the identification of challenges faced by them such as impact of mining machinery on female reproductive health, impact of chemical ablution facilities underground. Another initiative was the ergonomic design of a self contained rescuer device that could be worn by woman (reducing the size so that it is more manageable for woman)
The MHSC CFO provided a financial report. The MHSC was funded via levies from the mining industry. R78m was collected from levies in 2017/18. The main expense items in the budget were 35% on research, 28% on employee costs and 34% on operational costs. A new levy based on zero harm would replace the current one based on mining accidents. The MHSC had received a clean audit for the last two years.
Discussion on DMR
Mr Lorimer asked the following questions:
- what was the news on the backlog of licences.
- what plans were in place to address the problem of illegal mining
- if the illegal sand mining in the Western Cape was continuing
- what was being done about those who did not procure enough locally manufactured goods and materials as prescribed by the Mining Charter.
- how many officials had signed the pledge of ethical conduct, if any of those that signed the pledge did anything unethical, and how many were disciplined.
Mr Schmidt wanted clarity on the fines / penalties and what was meant by prospecting fees. He asked why some performance indicators indicated percentages and others actual numbers. He said numbers conveyed a much clearer picture than percentages.
The DMR CFO replied that fines related to right holders that did not operate within the conditions of their permits. The prospecting fee was for right holders that wanted to explore and prospect for minerals.
Adv Malebe replied that the backlog numbers were not readily available due to administrative problems.
Ms Ngcwabe replied that procurement outside SA was allowed if local supply base development was built into the supply programme and incentives were offered to mining companies to do this.
On illegal mining, she said that there was no legislation in place to address illegal mining. Currently illegal mining was dealt with by the police as an illegal activity. However there was a two-fold solution to the problem - in the first case there were the armed criminal syndicates who operated illegally and these had to be dealt with by the police. On the other hand there were those who mined illegally merely to feed their families and these needed to be helped and their activities had to be legalised by DMR.
Director General Mokoena replied about the illegal sand mining in the Western Cape, saying DMR was working on the Artisanal Mining Bill that should facilitate this. DMR was putting emphasis on areas where there were challenges suxh as Western Cape sand mining to facilitate opportunities for “our people”.
Mr Schmidt asked why DMR used percentages rather than numbers.
Adv Maleba replied that the percentages were linked to the template used in DMR’s administrative system. Actual numbers were available, she said.
Mr Schmidt asked if the numbers could be provided and Adv Maleba said that these would be given to the Committee.
The Chairperson said the process of reviewing and accounting for the Annual Performance Plan needed to be tweaked as some aspects were not always as clear as intended such as the target of developing five legislative instruments and achieving only one. Which one was achieved and what were the others? The MPRDA Bill had been outstanding since “forever” and now had been withdrawn. He asked how these developments had been interpreted in setting and evaluating performance targets. He felt that DMR’s system was not very clear. He needed clarity on legislative instrument targets including the Mining Charter. He concluded by saying that on the whole, DMR had done well and was improving. The only other concern he had was around turnaround times.
Mr Lorimer asked for more clarity on the unauthorised lease and on the charges laid. He asked why there were no SLPs. He also asked how many applications for closure certificates were not issued. He said that in his view the Mining Charter was not warmly received by all and that it would be a further impediment to investment and growth in the mining sector. He was concerned about the slow progress on the shale gas scientific research programme and asked by when it would be completed. How strong was the gas flow encountered? He asked why DMR had ignored the Committee Recommendations from the previous year.
What was the reason for the poor performance of the Mineral Regulation branch? He asked what the current plans were for the new cadastral system.
The DMR CFO replied that officials who signed the leases without authority were dismissed. The other official implicated had since left DMR and moved to another government department. A fraud case had been opened for both the incidents in Mpumalanga and the Western Cape. R362m was required to develop the fully fledged cadastral system but that funding was not available for this, so the project was being done in stages on year by year basis, with less funding.
Adv Maleba replied that SLPs were available but that these were included as part of Mining Charter certificates awarded to right holders. The numbers for closure certificates were available and would be provided as she did not have the exact numbers available during the meeting.
Ms Ngcwabe replied that new Annual Performance Plan targets would be set at the next strategic planning meeting and that they would be based the MPRDA and the Mining Charter. It would involve PASA (Petroleum Agency South Africa), the state owned mining company as well as housing standards on mines. She said that all legislation was dependent on the MPRDA. The Housing Bill would be finalised by year end.
She said 69% of attendees at the Mining Indaba voted in favour of the Mining Charter. In addition, the Minerals Council (old Chamber of Mines) welcomed the new Mining Charter. There was still a lot of work to be done on the Mining Charter but it seemed that it had been well received by the industry
The gas from the shale gas research well was not measured accurately, as gas was not expected at the relatively shallow depth of 1 402m. It would still take some time to complete the research work on shale gas. The logistics and procurement for the next phase - the 3.5km deep well - would take some time as SA did not have the expertise for this so procurement for this will be done overseas (Canada was a possibility). Funding for the horizontal drilling was still a problem. It would probably take about 12-18 months to complete the 3.5km deep well and then the horizontal section would follow, so the research programme would probably continue for the next three years.
Director General Mokoena said that DMR could not afford to ignore recommendations made by the Committee and that it would be given the highest level of attention by the Department.
The Chairperson welcomed this undertaking and said that the Committee would want to engage with DMR at a later stage to follow up on these and other aspects.
Discussion on MHSC
Mr M Matlala (ANC) said he was very happy with the skills development programmes but asked what the plans were to ensure that the graduates were not poached by the private sector. He asked who the young people were that were chosen for the development programmes.
Mr Schmidt asked why there were fewer section 54 notices than the previous year.
The MHSC CEO replied that the skills development candidates were unemployed graduates. Mining engineers, geologists with geophysics were targeted as the mining engineers would be trained as rock engineers and the geology and geophysics candidates would be trained as seismologists. The graduates were all employed by the DMR, CGS and the MHSI. He was not concerned if the graduates went into the private sector as the country had a shortage of skills in this area.
Mr Msiza replied that dealing with mines and labour was a difficult matter but that that there had been a 90% reduction in fatalities and injuries since the introduction of mine health and safety legislation.
He said that it was not only section 54 and 55 notices that played a role but also other factors such as the work done by MHSC on research that helped to reduce coal dust explosions. Monitoring and evaluation was crucial as well as enforcement, engagement and collaboration with all role players played a big role towards the ultimate goal of zero harm. The Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) assisted in that it provided the bursaries for skills development programmes.
The MHSC CEO concluded about the surplus funds within the entity, saying that a plan was being finalised with DMR and that once this was in place, it would be submitted to the Committee.
The Chairperson that there was nothing wrong with surplus funds as long there was a clear and approved plan for its utilisation.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Department of Mineral Resources; Mine Health & Safety Council 2017/18 Annual Report, with AGSA input 3
- Department of Mineral Resources; Mine Health & Safety Council 2017/18 Annual Report, with AGSA input 1
- Department of Mineral Resources; Mine Health & Safety Council 2017/18 Annual Report, with AGSA input 2
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