ATC210524: Report of the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings on the Executive Undertakings made by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy During the House Sitting of 10 October 2019, Adopted On 19 May 2021
REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON PETITIONS AND EXECUTIVE UNDERTAKINGS ON THE EXECUTIVE UNDERTAKINGS MADE BY THE MINISTER OF MINERAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY DURING THE HOUSE SITTING OF 10 OCTPBER 2019, ADOPTED ON 19 MAY 2021
On 10 October 2019, the Honourable Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy (Minister) made the following executive undertakings during the Question and Answer Session in the National Council of Provinces (House):
- Executive Undertaking 1: “As I indicated, government is now going to monitor the implementation of the agreement that has been arrived at. So, we will be an interested party to make sure that there is justice for our people. Had we been a litigant in the whole process, we would have been more actively involved right from the word go, but we were not and we only come in later when there were problems.”
- Executive Undertaking 2: “Now that the matter has been raised with us we are now going to ensure that we keep close to this by getting updates and ensure that what has been agreed to and committed to does become something that is implemented.”
- Executive Undertaking 3: “But your point is well made. Our task as government obviously is to ensure that our people are not taken for a ride, they are not cheated, and they are not robbed of what is due to them, particularly people who have suffered in this way as a result of what happened in the mining industry – the asbestosis claims and all that. We are prepared and willing to follow that up.”
- REFERRAL PROCEDURE TO THE COMMITTEE
The concerned executive undertakings were referred to the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings (Committee) by the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, on 30 June 2020, for it to scrutinise and subsequently report to the House on their implementation.
After their referral the Committee proceeded to extend an invitation to the Minister to appear before it and report on the progress made by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (Department) in implementing the concerned executive undertakings.
- COMMITTEE MEETING PROCEDURES
On 23 September 2020, the Minister and relevant officials of the Department appeared before the Committee to report on the progress made in implementing the executive undertakings under consideration.
The following Committee Members were present at the meeting:
3.1 Hon Z V Ncitha, ANC, Eastern Cape (Chairperson);
3.2 Hon S Shaikh, ANC, Limpopo;
3.3 Hon T S C Dodovu, ANC, North-West;
3.4 Hon E M Mthethwa, ANC, KwaZulu-Natal;
3.5 Hon B M Bartlett, ANC, Northern Cape;
3.6 Hon G Michalakis, DA, Free State;
3.7 Hon I M Sileku, DA, Western Cape;
3.8 Hon K Motsamai, EFF, Gauteng;
3.9 Hon Zandamela, EFF; Mpumalanga; and
3.10 Hon S E Mfayela, IFP, KwaZulu-Natal
The following Committee officials were in attendance:
3.11 Mr N Mkhize, Committee Secretary;
3.12 Adv. T Sterris-Jaffer; Committee Researcher;
3.13 Mrs N Fakier; Executive Secretary; and
3.14 Mr M Dumezweni, Committee Assistant
The following representatives of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy appeared before the Committee during the meeting:
3.15 Mr T Mokoena -Director General (DG);
3.16 Mr G Lekorotsoana-Chief of Staff
3.17 Ms P Magona-Ministry
3.18 Ms C Nobevu-Office of the DG
3.19 Mr C Ngalo-Parliamentary Liaison Officer
- PROGRESS REPORT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF MINERAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY
The Director-General reported as follows:
- Executive Undertaking 1:
The Department reported that two trusts have been established, the Asbestos Relief Trust (ART) and the Kgalagadi Relief Trust (KRT) to implement a legal settlement reached between mineworkers and the Gencor group of Companies. The agreement stipulates that, mineworkers who had suffered from asbestos-related disease would be compensated through both trusts.
Reported that the Ntuli Noble and Spoor (“NNS”) firm, a law firm, undertook to assist the Kgatelopele Community Asbestos (KCA) and make submissions to the ARTrust and KRTrust to making payments to persons whose names were used to successfully conclude settlement claims. And engagements between the legal representatives of the claimants, the mining companies and the Department had been ongoing.
The Department confirmed that there was still money available to pay outstanding claimants. But indicated that some of the challenge is the fact that several of workers had not contracted asbestos related diseases. As result they have recommended that those found not to have contracted asbestos related must have a medical re-examination. And have assigned a Deputy Chief Inspector of Mines to look at its communication strategy, to aid in identifying beneficiaries.
4.2 Executive Undertaking 2:
The Department reported that NNS received a list of 517 members from KCA seeking compensation from ARTrust. And NNS disputed the claim of 517 persons and reported that only 37 persons were parties to the Gencor litigation. Of the 37 persons who participated in the litigation, 36 submitted claims for compensation to the KRTrust, 1 did not;11 were compensated for an asbestos related disease; 2 were refused compensation on the grounds that they had not worked on a Gencor mine or a mine belonging to any of their subsidiaries; 20 were refused compensation on the basis that they had not contracted asbestos related disease, and 3 claims were unresolved or are still pending. Of 517 persons on the KCA list: 5 persons did not submit valid identity numbers and could not be verified.
Further indicating that 216 have not submitted claims to the ARTrust or the KRTrust; 67 have submitted claims and have been compensated;170 submitted claims but have been refused compensation on grounds that they have no asbestos related disease; 27 have been refused compensation on the grounds that they never worked on a Gencor mine or on a mine belonging to any of their subsidiaries; and 23 claims are pending.
There are number of individuals on the KCA list who have not submitted their claims and recommends that, persons whose claims were rejected because they have no asbestos related disease, should be re-examined at the Department of Health’s one stop centre in Kuruman. If they have signs of asbestos related disease their claims should be resubmitted to the ARTrust for consideration. Those persons that have not submitted any claims to the KRTrust, should prepare and submit their claims for compensation. Those persons who’s claims have not been finalised, KRTrust will assist to get those claims finalised.
- Executive Undertaking 3:
The Department assured its commitment to continue to monitor the implementation of the litigation settlement against Gencor, Gefco and their asbestos mining subsidiaries, promising to conclude this matter before the end of this financial year. But raised concerns about the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, in delaying the Department intervention in its facilitation of the claimant processes.
5. OBSERVATIONS AND KEY FINDINGS
In noting the progress report given by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy in relation to the implementation of the executive undertakings under review, the Committee made the following observations and key findings:
- The Department confirmed that there was still money available to pay outstanding claimants. Indicating each beneficiary was paid according to the findings from their medical examinations, and the amount paid had varied.
- The Department had to consider the fact that several of workers had not contracted asbestos-related diseases, as a result, it had to recommend that those who were found to not have contracted asbestos-related diseases have a medical re-examination. And the Department has assigned the Deputy Chief Inspector of Mines to look at its communication strategy, to aid in identifying beneficiaries.
- The Department reported that it has implemented the Derelict and Ownerless mining programme, to ensure that mine sites are subjected to environmental rehabilitation measures.
5.4 Department committed to do a follow-up with those legal firms based in the United Kingdom. And further assured that they are prepared to conclude this matter in this financial year of 2020/2021.
- The Department to ensure that all mining companies implement their social and labour plans in the communities in which they function.
- The Committee recommends that the Department provide quarterly updates to the claimants and the Committee until this matter is finalized.
Report to be considered.
No related documents