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MINERALS AND ENERGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
18 May 2005
MINERALS AND ENERGY LAWS AMENDMENT BILL: ADOPTION
Chairperson: Mr E Mthethwa (ANC)
Minerals and Energy Laws Amendment Bill [B1-2005]
The Committee formally considered the Minerals and Energy Laws Amendment Bill (B1-2005). The Bill sought to correct erroneous amendments made to the Deeds Registries Act (No. 47 of 1937) by the Mining Titles Registration Amendment Act, 2003 and the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002. These errors essentially meant that personal servitudes over land could not be registered at the Deeds Office while references to mineral rights had been erroneously retained.
The Committee unanimously adopted the Bill without amendments after clarity had been obtained on the exact manner in which the Bill would correct the earlier mistakes and its practical implications.
Ms M Raboshakga, the Department Legal Officer, pointed out that she would not repeat the briefings provided to the Committee on 23 February and 16 March. Rather, she would read through the amendments and answer Members’ questions.
By way of introduction, she mentioned the Bill’s main objective which was to correct amendments made to the Deeds Registries Act (No. 47 of 1937) by the Mining Titles Registration Amendment Act, 2003 and the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002. These mistakes essentially meant that personal servitudes could not be registered at the Deeds Office and references to mineral rights had been erroneously retained.
She then proceeded to read through the amendments. These could be summarised as follows:
- Repeal of the sub-sections of Section 3(1) of the Deeds Registries Act;
- Deleting the terms "or rights to minerals" and associated expressions from Sections 21, 28, 32, 63, 67, 90 and 102 of the Deeds Registries Act; and
- Deleting the term "excluding mineral rights" from Section 17(5) of the Sectional Titles Act (No. 95 of 1986).
Ms N Mathibela (ANC) asked how the removal of rights to minerals would affect African customary marriages. Ms Raboshakga responded that the 1999 Recognition of Customary Marriages Act dealt with African marriages, but that rights to minerals would not be recognised even in such marriages as they no longer existed having been "extinguished" by the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act.
Adv H Schmidt (DA) expressed confusion because he could not see how the objectives of the Bill were actually being met in the wording of the amendments. He also pointed out that the proposed amendment to the Sectional Titles Act was not listed in the objectives of the Bill.
A State Law Advisor responded that the only material change sought by the amendment bill was to correct earlier mistakes that removed the ability of the Registrar of Deeds to register personal servitudes.
In response to Mr Schmidt asking for further explanation, Adv M Mononela, Department Chief Director: Mineral Policy and Administration, pointed out that the Bill would re-establish the status quo that existed before the Mining Titles Registration Amendment Act and the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act came into being, thus allowing legal registration of servitudes at the Deeds Office.
Mr E Lucas (IFP) asked about the legal ramifications of correcting the earlier mistakes, while the Chairperson asked if the amendment bill would substantially affect the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act.
Adv Mononela replied that the Bill would not have any negative effect on the Act, while correction of the mistakes would allow the registration of servitudes.
The Chairperson asked if applications for the registration of servitudes had been put on hold as a result of the mistakes. Ms Chetty, Parliamentary Liaison Officer of the Department of Land Affairs (which administers the Deeds Registries Act) stated that registration of servitudes had continued by arrangement between the Department and Department of Land Affairs. The Bill would formally legalise those registrations.
After a short break during which Mr Schmidt caucused with the Department and Department of Land Affairs officials, the Committee unanimously adopted the Bill without amendments. It also adopted its report on the Bill to the National Assembly.
The meeting was adjourned.
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