President Jacob Zuma has reiterated the message of radical transformation of the economy by ensuring that the state would continue to pursue direct involvement in mining.
In his State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Thursday evening, Zuma said the Mining Company of South Africa Bill, which is the first step in passing a law for government to create a state-owned mining company, would be presented to Cabinet and Parliament during the year.
“The Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill was sent back to Parliament so that issues relating to the public consultation process undertaken by Provincial legislatures can be addressed,” Zuma said.
“We trust that it shall be processed and returned for finalisation without much delay so that the concerns relating to uncertainty raised by business can be resolved.”
Zuma welcomed the recovery in commodity prices, saying that it had resulted in an upswing in mining output and augured well for the industry.
He also touched on the review of the Mining Charter, saying that its finalisation would help ensure the sustainability of this industry.
The Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said on Monday that the Charter would be gazetted by mid-March.
The Charter seeks to recognise the internationally accepted right of the state to exercise sovereignty over all the mineral and petroleum resources within the Republic, as well as helping the country to de-racialise the ownership of the mining industry.
“We trust that discussions between government and business on the Charter will yield results so that the process can be finalised,” Zuma said.
Zuma said that government continued to work with other stakeholders to combat illegal mining to save lives and to prevent the trafficking of precious metals and diamonds.
He said the tragic accident that occurred at Lily Mine in Barberton outside in Mpumalanga earlier in 2016, where three workers are still trapped underground, was the first of its kind since the dawn of democracy.
“We also continue to place great emphasis on the health and safety of mineworkers which is so crucial to the sustainability of the mining sector,” Zuma said.
“Working with the mining companies we can ensure that lives are protected at all times.”
– African News Agency (ANA)