The Inter Ministerial Committee for the Revitalisation of Distressed Mining Communities was established in 2012 to address the socio-economic challenges in mining districts and their labour sending areas. This Special Presidential Package (SPP) formed part of the Social Accord signed by government, business and labour. The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) provided a progress report.
DPME identified the challenges and detailed the progress made on the SSP four aspects since 2014:
• Integrated and sustainable human settlements
• Improved socio-economic conditions
• Improved working conditions of mine workers
• Decent living conditions and meaningful contribution to mining town / labour sending area development.
DPME noted that in 2018 the South African Human Rights Commission Report on its National Hearing on the Underlying Socio-economic Challenges of Mining-affected Communities in South Africa. The findings have been communicated to affected departments for implementation, as monitored by the SAHRC.
In conclusion, DPME stated that the Inter-Ministerial Committee has been abolished. However, the initiatives and work scope of the programme are still ongoing.
Members asked about a specific Northern Cape mine; how ex-miners are traced for health compensation and retirement benefits and what is the estimated number still outstanding; rehabilitation of mines before closure; removal of people from mining areas; poor living conditions; is there identification of families of deceased ex-mineworkers who have not yet been compensated; if the allocation of houses was smooth; who has oversight and ensures that beneficiaries are receiving their fair share; and the reasons for the unspent money. Members commented that they were glad that the end of the Inter Ministerial Committee did not mean that the programme would be dropped. They stated that the briefing lacked an assessment of the impact achieved.
The DPME Deputy Minister in the Presidency suggested that the Department return after the adoption of the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) for 2019-2024 and provide an assessment of the impact since the two are interlinked. The District Development Model was seen as a game changer for the revitalisation of distressed mining communities.
Revitalisation of Distressed Mining Communities: DPME progress report
Ms Nkateko Mkhacane, DPME Senior Sector Expert: Revitalization of Distressed Mining Towns, explained that the October 2012 Social Accord was signed by Government, Business and Labour referred to as the Special Presidential Package (SPP) which made three commitments:
Part 1: Restoring confidence in labour market institutions, addressing income inequalities and building social cohesion
Part 2: Action to combat violence and lawlessness
Part 3: Addressing socio-economic challenges in mining districts and their labour sending areas.
The work of the Department has focused on Part 3.
In late 2012, an Inter Ministerial Committee for the Revitalisation of Distressed Mining Communities was established to address Part 3. The IMC has focused on:
• Integrated and sustainable human settlements
• Improved socio-economic conditions
• Improved working conditions of mine workers
• Decent living conditions for mine workers and meaningful contribution to the development trajectory of mining towns and labour sending areas.
The DPME Minister is the IMC Chair and the IMC has 17 core and supporting ministries.
Twenty one local mining municipalities in seven provinces and 12 labour sending areas in two provinces, Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal, have been prioritised for the revitalisation of distressed mining communities. The state of mining operations in the mining towns were noted.
1. Integrated Human Settlements
Some of the challenges for fast-tracking progress were noted as: legislation and policy challenges, informal settlements and the living out allowance , delivery of bulk infrastructure cannot keep pace with housing demand. In 2013/14 the government ring-fenced R2.1 billion for informal settlement upgrading for prioritised mining towns allocated over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). A total of 13 657 sites and 307 304 units were delivered with an expenditure of R6 935 841 for 2014/15-2018/19. A provincial breakdown was provided (see document) and a description of the upgrading.
In May 2018, NDHS finalised a process of developing Implementation Protocols (IPs) for the Revitalization of Distressed Mining Communities Programme with the purpose to ensure:
• Three spheres of government collaborate with mining operators;
• Alignment of funding and interventions, taking into account the SLPs of mining companies.
IPs were signed by various government agencies for 12 local municipalities in Limpopo, Gauteng and Northern Cape. The remainder should be signed during 2019/20.
2. Socio-economic development
In diversifying local and regional economies, these challenges were noted:
• Mining towns have traditionally relied on the single economic sector of mining. Municipalities lack Local Economic Development (LED) plans; developmental projects; adequate economic infrastructure, and insufficient Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) to drive economic development.
• Incoherence between Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) and the Municipal Systems Act (MSA) on community engagements for priority needs.
• Gaps in the Social Labour Plan- Integrated Development Plan-Community Engagement value chain.
• Limited transparency on SLPs creates trust deficit and limited oversight over their implementation
• Lack of coordination between DMR and Municipalities in oversight of SLP reviews and mine closures.
• The Social Labour Plans (SLPs) is reliant on strong Integrated Development Plans (IDPs).
• The MPRDA Regulations state that all projects should be aligned to the IDP of the local municipality.
The Ministers of Mineral Resources and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs have discussed:
• Misalignment between mining companies, municipalities and communities.
• Development of a collaboration framework to address misalignment between the IDP and SLP
• Framework to define the process (how should SLPs be informed by IDPs)
• Pooling of funds (where more than one mining company operating in a community)
• Mines should be working with municipalities to drive the development agenda.
• Clarify the role of Traditional Authorities in the value chain
• The role of Local Government in implementation and monitoring of SLPs
• Explore opportunities to re-direct the mining resources to strategic investments in municipalities.
• COGTA undertook a project to capacitate 9 mining municipalities to plan and implement LED projects
• COGTA has developed guidelines for municipalities to engage with mining houses on effective partnerships
• DPME is supporting Northern Cape partnership with four mining companies on socio-economic development projects to produce greater impact from implementation of SLPs in skills development/education; health care; industrialization and connectivity
• This can become a case study for improved partnerships between mining companies and communities.
3. Improving working conditions and mine community health
Mine workers are exposed to occupational diseases such as TB, silicosis, and injuries. Generally inadequate compensation is provided. Ex- mineworkers experience great difficulty in accessing health compensation and retirement benefits.
• The Department of Health has focused on mine worker compensation
• Outreach programmes are being implemented, such as awareness campaigns, fixed and mobile medical units, targeted at ex-mineworkers.
• Approximately 80 000 ex-mine workers have been reached in the past 4 years
• There are 4 One Stop Service Centres in South Africa (Mthatha, Carltenoville, Kuruman and Burgersfort)
• 10 other One Stop Centres in other countries have been opened, with funding from the Global Fund.
• In the last 3 years, the Compensation Commissioner for Occupational Diseases (CCOD) had paid 20 000 claimants approximately R600m
• Integration of compensation systems is planned - Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) and Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act (ODMWA). New mineworkers to be covered under COIDA – Department of Employment and Labour. Current and ex-mineworkers covered under ODMWA- Department of Health.
• Class action law suit reached an out of court settlement ratified in July 2019 and a trust has been established to administer the settlement of R5 billion for TB and Silicosis claimants dating back to 1965.
4. Decent living conditions and development of mining towns and labour sending areas
The challenges here are the appalling living conditions in mining towns; the need to strengthen IDPs and align IDPs with SLPs; perceived mining company non-compliance with SLPs.
The process to review the Housing Standard of 2009 began after the finalization of the Mining Charter in 2018. The draft reviewed Housing Standard was published for public comment in May 2019. Written submissions were considered and consultation conducted with stakeholders.
The review process is at an advanced stage.
DPME noted that in 2018 the South African Human Rights Commission Report came out. These were the findings and recommendations based on its National Hearing on the Underlying Socio-economic Challenges of Mining-affected Communities in South Africa. The findings of the hearing have been communicated to affected departments for implementation, as monitored by the SAHRC.
In conclusion, DPME stated that the Inter-Ministerial Committee has been abolished. The initiatives and work scope of the programme are still ongoing:
• Monitor implementation of delivery of housing development in mining towns
• Improve mine community health and mine health and safety
• Monitor compensation of benefits due to current and ex-mineworkers.
• Economic diversification - finalisation of strategies aimed at effective mine closure on mine communities and determining approaches that will enable diversification
• Overall monitoring of compliance of the mining sector.
She recommended that the Committee be briefed on the District Development Model.
Ms C Motsepe (ANC) said that there had been complaint after complaint by the people about what is happening at the Northern Cape mine. They have the mining documents so what is being done. She asked what criteria are used to trace ex-miners for health compensation and retirement benefits.
Ms M Kibi (ANC) noted the 80 000 ex-miners reached in the past four years and asked what was the backlog? What was the baseline for the finalisation of claims?
Inkosi R Cebekhulu (ANC) asked what role the department plays in assisting with the rehabilitation of areas where mining has taken place. Often what happens is that when certain minerals have been identified in a section of land where there are informal human settlements, people get removed. This affects them in many ways. They are not warned in time so that they may prepare alternative living arrangements. Even in cases where they are not affected, their living conditions are poor. People’s houses are cracking and their roofs leak. There have been many complaints about this. Have there been any attempts by the department to intervene? Before the coal mining process begins, mining companies should put proper programmes in place, to ensure that unnecessary hazards are avoided.
His concern was also about the identifying the families of deceased ex-mineworkers. In the document only a few have been mentioned. In his area, he knows of many miners that have long passed, but their families have not been compensated.
Ms R Lesoma (ANC) expressed her comfort that the abolishment of Inter Ministerial Committee did not mean that the programme would be dropped. She said that the presentation lacked an assessment of the positive impact that had been achieved but is happy that the work of the Department of Human Settlements is being represented. She asked if allocation was smooth and what lessons needed to be learned. Have the beneficiaries actually received the houses that have been completed? Were all service providers paid? Were there overpayments? That kind of information needs to be presented as it links to the unspent monies. This information would also be useful when engaging with other departments. R5 billion sounds like a huge amount of money, however the actual beneficiaries will get only a small portion of that. Who has oversight and ensures that beneficiaries are receiving their fair share?
Mr B Maneli (ANC) asked the reasons for the unspent money. In the urban space, the assumption is that municipalities have land. He wondered if the issue of land has been covered. He noted the mining firms make their own deals. If they are unsatisfied with the way things are, they open another mining firm.
He noted that the department should not wait for rehabilitation to take place when a mine is closed. These processes should be happening simultaneously; otherwise the mine will declare liquidation. He referenced the district development model.
Ms Thembi Siweya, DPME Deputy Minister in the Presidency, explained that with the shortfall that has been seen, what usually happens is that the investor will come in and ignore all the plans that have been made by the municipality. The investors will formulate their own forum and not incorporate everyone else into it. She said that instead with the District Development Model, you have one budget, one plan and one development model and you all follow it.
She suggested that perhaps they come back after the adoption of the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) for 2019-2024 since the two are interlinked. What has been discussed today shall be presented in the MTSF. This will allow the department to brief the Committee on the positive impact and with the other departments to provide answers. This will further allow the Department to account to the Committee.
Ms Siweya requested that DPME come back with a comprehensive answer on the Northern Cape mine.
The Committee agreed.
Mr Joseph Leshabane, Department of Human Settlements (DHS) Acting Director General, explained that the bulk of capital investment comes from DHS. Annually, approximately R1 billion is allocated for supporting the revitalization of mining areas. The reality is that there is a massive influx of people into those municipalities. Unless there is a plan set for that expansion, there will be disaster. Therefore, those municipalities need to prioritise expansion. The focus is less on building houses, and more on supporting those municipalities in expansion, to ensure that they are able to accommodate that influx. While there has been some successes, there have also been some serious challenges so the District Development Model which was mentioned by the Deputy Minister is a gamechanger. You find that the municipality is not playing ball, there is political instability. What do you do when you bring a capital works programme? You require all of government with you in that space. That is the wisdom of coordinating all of government in a district.
He conceded there are challenges with allocation of houses and stands.
The question of land is fundamental. What has been happening is that mining companies would donate land to the municipality. At face value, this seemed good. However, the Department of Human Settlements came to the realization that they should not be accepting donations – but rather co-develop with the mining companies. This way, mining companies would be able to contribute to the capital requirements. This is a lesson that the Department had to learn. In the Department’s experience, a mining company donated land, the department rushed in to build houses. However, they soon realized that this was not the policy of the government. Therefore they have changed the model where they have concluded implementation protocols with the three spheres of government so that there is one voice when engaging with the mining companies. The model has a stronger focus and compels all to work coherently. You will be appraised of the district reports next month that are integrated with what government and the private sector are doing.
He replied that there has been incredible impact, there are good stories about the last five years' Special Presidential Package (SPP) and DHS will be happy to come and present on that.
The Chairperson thanked DPME for the presentation and the meeting was adjourned.
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