The IFP’s policy on mineral and energy affairs is based on the party’s commitment to the free market system. The IFP rejects a socialist and statist approach to energy affairs, and believes that urgent transformation of the government’s entire energy policy is required. In view of its extreme importance, the field of energy should be separated from the field of minerals and should fall under it’s own Ministry and Department.
The IFP believes that the benefits of hydroelectric power generated from the water resources of the province of KwaZulu-Natal should be made available to local communities, and that local companies should be contracted to perform engineering and other related tasks in the development of hydroelectric power.
Eskom should be privatised and the price of electricity should be market-related, however, extension of the national grid requires state subsidisation. Eskom should become an electricity retailer. Pre-payment for electricity should be encouraged.
The fuel industry is excessively regulated. Fuel imports should be freed subject only to safety guarantees, while the retailing of petrol should be deregulated. The fuel price should be determined in a free market in order to promote economic growth and job creation, and the Central Energy Fund should be abolished.
The Motor Vehicle Insurance Fund should not be funded by a hidden tax on fuel.
MossGas should be sold as soon as possible.
Beneficiation of coal for the manufacture of chemicals and other products, including gas, is preferable to the burning of coal for energy. The IFP favours a further extension of the use of gas in South Africa for domestic purposes, especially cooking and heating.
Alternative energy sources
Intensive research is required into alternative energy forms. Nuclear energy should be further investigated because of its low cost, bearing in mind the alleged safety and environmental problems associated this energy form. Solar power for domestic applications needs to be promoted.
Minerals will continue to be the mainstay of the economy for many years to come because South Africa possesses a greater abundance of minerals than any other single country on earth. Because the mining industry is so important to the economy, and provides so many jobs, the government has an obligation to ensure that it is allowed to operate as efficiently and profitably as possible. State interference in the mining industry should be kept to the minimum.
The IFP holds the view that in spite of the lengthy history of migrant labour in the South African mining industry, preference should be given to employing South Africans whenever and wherever possible.
South Africa is a world leader in mining technology, and the government should encourage the overseas marketing of this technology.
Mining safety and health
The IFP supports, in essence, the Mine Qualifications Authority (MQA) set up in terms of the Mine Health and Safety Act. Encouragement should be given to extending the health activities on mines to neighbouring communities. The IFP supports pre-employment testing for HIV in the mining industry.
The IFP supports attempts to further beneficiate minerals where market and investment opportunities are favourable.
Education and training
The IFP notes that the mining industry is heavily involved in training and should be able to decide for itself how to fund education and training in the industry. The mining industry should not therefore be subject to nationally imposed skills training levies, which in any case will be inefficient. Education and training standards in the industry should be so designed as to make it possible for individuals to move freely within the industry and, if so desired, outside of it.
The IFP supports the existing hybrid mineral rights dispensation and security of tenure in the interests of stability and investment in the industry. The IFP also supports greater co-operation between the state and the private mining industry in the exploration of minerals. The royalties on mineral rights in tribal areas should accrue to the tribal authorities.
Labour and Industrial relations
Industrial relations in the industry are best left to employers and employees, through union representation. The IFP believes that the mining industry should continue to develop training programmes for miners which, in the event of mine closures, would equip miners with the skills with which to find other employment. Accommodation and family quarters on mines should be continuously upgraded to meet modern standards.
Small scale mining
Small scale mining should be encouraged subject to environmental safeguards.
Marketing of minerals
The IFP supports joint marketing and promotional efforts by the South African mining industry.
The IFP supports accelerated depreciation and capital allowances, taxation based on profits rather than via levies and other imposts, and tax incentives to encourage the exploitation of mineral deposits.
Investment in mining must not be discouraged by excessive environmental regulation, yet the cost of restoring the environment after the conclusion of mining operations should be met from the revenues derived from mining on the ‘polluter pays’ principle.
Existing discrimination in the industry should be eliminated and development of the previously disadvantaged populace should be encouraged in both employment and ownership.