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MINERALS AND ENERGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
1 March 2000
ABOLITION OF LEBOWA MINERALS TRUST DRAFT BILL
Documents handed out
Abolition of the Lebowa Minerals Trust Act introduction
Abolition of the Lebowa Minerals Trust Bill Draft presentation
Difference Between the Lebowa Minerals and Ingonyama Trust
Consultation with communities in the Former Lebowa
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Dr Bredell, from the Department of Minerals and Energy, indicated that Cabinet had approved the Draft Bill. The department has suggested to the Minister that the Bill be published for public comment. It was therefore likely to reach the Portfolio Committee at the end of April.
The Department went through the four presentations. The draft bill aims to abolish the Lebowa Minerals Trust (LMT), and transfer the assets and rights held by the trust into the care of the state. The Bill was the result of an investigation into the LMT carried out by the Department of Minerals and Energy.
When the LMT was established, two types of mineral rights were transferred to it. The first was rights previously held by the state on land owned by the state. These rights will revert back to the state. The second was held in trust for various tribal groups. These rights will continue to be held in trust for the tribal groups, however the Minister for Minerals and Energy will now be the Trustee and administer the rights, rather than the LMT.
The LMT has accumulated royalties, and where the royalties resulted from rights previously owned by the state, the monies will be transferred to the state fiscus. However, the Department would be required to identify royalties that had accrued from rights held in trust for the tribal groups, and an alternative arrangement would have to be found.
After the presentation, there were some concerns raised by various members of the committee. Mr Ramodike (UDM) stated that there was a lot of opposition to the Bill from communities in the area.
Ms Motubatse (ANC) requested information on what alternatives had been considered, and asked for clarity on the issue of the separation of mineral rights from land rights.
Mr Davidson (DP) stated that a deduction that could be made from the Bill was that the government policy might be to take away land rights from the Ingonyama Trust, if it was possible now to take mineral rights from the LMT. He asked why the LMT was being targeted. If Anglo American, for example, owned mineral rights in a trust, why did the state not remove those rights? He suggested that the LMT was maybe a soft target. National legislation may be planned for the future to transfer all mineral rights to the state. However this bill may begin to pre-empt future legislation.
Mr Nkosi, the Chairperson, noted that he had received a letter from the LMT beneficiaries' forum. He had replied inviting the forum to a meeting on the 8 March.
Dr Bredell indicated that he would present the Portfolio Committee with copies of the investigation report from the Department of Minerals and Energy. He noted that the government recognised the difference between land and mineral rights. Land rights were constitutionally guaranteed and acknowledged through private ownership. However, mineral rights should belong to all South Africans.
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