Budget Vote Debate- Extended Public Committee
Mr JA Esterhuizen, MP
Inkatha Freedom Party
My sincere condolences to the ANC and to the family and loved ones of your members that passed away so tragically in the horror bus accident on Sunday. Some of them I knew personally being from Ekhurhuleni myself and I was in Buyafhuti Hostel in Kathlehong on Sunday when we received word of this tragedy.
“Unkulunkulu Uphile, Unkulunkhulu Uthathile, Mabalale Ngoxolov”
The Department of Mineral Resources has a critically important role to play in the social and economic upliftment, and economic growth of South Africa.
In fact, most of the National Development Plan’s problems and challenges could be addressed if the country only had a growing mining sector and this is one of principal objectives of this department, to grow and promote this industry for the benefit of all South Africans.
Government made a good start when it opened up or loosened up mineral rights held by a few major players, but sadly some of those rights went to people who had no intention of mining, but rather of ‘middle manning’ or ‘flipping’ those rights to third parties, making huge profits, buying their Bentleys and moving on to the next politically connected deal – all of this at great cost to South Africa and its people.
If current prospecting by junior mining fails, there will be no pipeline, no successful discoveries, which means that South Africa could not have a mining industry in the next 20 years!
We have many regulations and laws, we need only to follow through on these or the results will very seldom lead to the actual beneficiation and opportunities to the people they were intended for in the first place.
Last month Mr Sikhosiphi Radebe, chairperson of a crisis committee that opposed mining in their small community of Xolonbeni was tragically killed in a hail of bullets. Whilst Minister Zwane appealed for calm in the community, aspersions are being cast that this was a contract killing. How can the lives of our people be placed before profits?
Fair and proper control of natural resources through this department could lift millions out of poverty and improve prospects for generations to come. Anglo American recently put 175 million into a corporate and social responsibility programme to benefit the communities surrounding the platinum mines in Limpopo. Why are other mining operations not following suit?
The Mining industry must begin to take some responsibility for its own bad image. The excessive salaries paid to top executives, border on the criminal! What kind of image does this portray to the communities who continue to live in abject poverty?
Honourable Speaker, with 6150 abandoned mines in South Africa with ore bodies which are in most cases still better than anywhere else in the world, we urgently need clear policy and guidelines that will eliminate the confusion between small scale and illegal mining!
In conclusion, the IFP wants to see greater innovation in terms of business solutions, better social cohesion between business and labour, and policy adjustments from government which are urgently required in order to save the mining industry in South Africa.
The IFP supports this budget vote debate.
I thank you.
Contact Hon. JA Esterhuizen, MP, on 083 379 2391
IFP Media, Parliament