STATEMENT BY MINERAL RESOURCES MINISTER MR GWEDE MANTASHE, ON POLICY AND REGULATORY MATTERS
On Friday 15th June 2018, we published the draft Mining Charter for public comments. This comes after a process of eight weeks of intensive engagements with stakeholders and social partners.
We started our engagements in March at a meeting with social partners. We then embarked on an intensive consultation with mining communities and organisations across the country. We visited mining communities in all nine provinces: Emalahleni in Mpumalanga, Lephalale and Burgersfort in Limpopo, Kathu in the Northern Cape, Saldhana in the Western Cape, Klerksdorp and Rustenburg in the North West, King Williams Town in the Eastern Cape, Carletonville in Gauteng, Welkom in the Free State and Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal. We are encouraged by the positive contributions, verbal and written, that all communities and the public made. They were invaluable in guiding the process of drafting the Charter.
In two weeks from now, we will host a Summit to receive further inputs from stakeholders, as we work towards finalising the Charter. The period to receive public comments closes on 27th July 2018.
Once we have a finalised draft it will be subjected to Government’s Socio-Economic Impact Assessment System (SEIAS) to assess the likely impact of the Charter on the economy and society in general. It will then be submitted to Cabinet for approval. Once all these processes have been completed, the final Mining Charter will be gazetted for implementation.
During our provincial engagements on the Mining Charter, we received feedback on other aspects of our work as the Regulator. These relate mainly to three issues: first, allegations of double-granting of licenses; second, allegations of improper application of Section 54 of the Mine Health and Safety Act and, last, the backlogs in the issuing of licenses. We committed to address these challenges.
Therefore, I have established an investigative team. We have identified the provinces of Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North West as our priority focus. In these provinces, our clients have indicated they experience the most challenges in terms of the issues outlined earlier.
An incident was reported to the Ministry concerning our Mpumalanga regional office.
It appears that Section 54 of the Mine Health and Safety Act was abused, wherein an official allegedly issued these notices and demanded financial compensation in return for their lifting. The official in question is suspended, pending the conclusion of the investigation. Where there is evidence of a crime being committed, the matter will be referred to the law enforcement agencies for action.
At present, the investigative team is consolidating its report of findings and recommendations on the Mpumalanga regional office. The team will submit its report to the Ministry in the next few days. Once the team has completed its work in Mpumalanga, it will proceed to Limpopo and then the North West Province.
Regarding Limpopo, as an urgent intervention, we have suspended – with immediate effect, the administrative operations of that office. We took this decision after an incident in which staff were threatened, and a bullet was sent to the Regional Manager inside an envelope. We are, therefore, advising all our Clients that all administrative related matters will be handled from the head office in Pretoria. In the interim, the investigation continues.
Health and safety
The Acting Chief Inspector of Mines is compiling a report on all accidents that occurred at Sibanye-Stillwater operations since the beginning of this year. This will enable us to take appropriate action, guided by the Mine Health and Safety Act, as opposed to a knee-jerk reaction.
To date, Sibanye-Stillwater operations are responsible for 20 of the 45 fatalities reported since the beginning of the year. It, therefore, cannot be business as usual in how the Regulator attends to this situation. There will be an update once the report is completed.
This matter is receiving our urgent and serious attention, as it deserves. We wish to reiterate our commitment, that mining is about people.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much.
Issued by the DMR, 17 June 2018