“The DA cannot support the bill in its current form, as it will result in job losses and inevitably hurt millions of unemployed people,” Democratic Alliance spokesman James Lorimer said on Thursday. Lorimer said the bill gave the minister and the mineral resources department discretionary powers in 34 instances.
“The allocation of [mining] rights may be opened to corruption and patronage, due to the minister’s increased, unregulated discretionary powers,” he said. A further concern for the DA, was a provision that would allow government to designate certain minerals as “strategic” and set prices.
This would serve as a disincentive to mining companies, and lead to a withdrawal of investment and job losses. Lorimer said it was also a mistake to apply the proposed legislation to the oil and gas industries, and shut down the Petroleum Agency of SA (PASA).
This meant that regulation would not be relegated by a credible, independent agency and went against international best practice.
The DA would call for the bill in its current form to be abandoned, and planned to vote against it “unless all fatal flaws are adequately addressed to encourage investment and improve job creation”.
The bill was approved by Cabinet in late May. The mineral resources department says it will improve mineral beneficiation, increase social development as a spin-off from mining, and integrate administrative processes relating to mining rights.