Address by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Ms Sylvia Lucas at the Mining Indaba Gala Dinner PDF Print E-mail

 

 

 

 

Programme Director

Members of the Executive Council

Members’ of the Provincial Legislature

Executive Mayors and Mayors

Representatives from the Chamber of mines

Captains of Industry

Representatives from the Banking and Finance Sector

Distinguished guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

It is my distinct pleasure to join you tonight in marking this watershed moment. The hosting of this mining indaba is the culmination of months of hard work by Provincial government but also builds on previous engagements specifically targeting the mining sector and is an important milestone for the people of the province and the transformation of the mining sector.

 

 

At the outset I wish to extend our utmost gratitude to our main sponsor, Kumba Iron Ore for hosting this gala event tonight. Through your generous sponsor, we are able to bring together captains of industry, business and government and for that we are grateful.  Tonight’s engagement presents us with an ideal opportunity to take stock of the commitments that we have made from the side of Government as well as the mining sector to ensure economic growth that will create local employment and ownership to address the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality

 

The Northern Cape is currently a prime destination for Foreign Direct Investment in the mining and the energy sectors. As a Province, we are open and grateful for all investments.    Procurement by the large mining houses exceeds a total of R 18 billion per year. The concern however is that besides the actual investment; the Northern Cape requires far more local benefit through local beneficiation, procurement, local empowerment, corporate social investment and the required regulatory mandated community socio-economic development funding. With the reviewed Mining Charter, the new mining regulation places emphasis on localisation of parts, consumables and services by suppliers to the mines, targets for buying from black owned and black women companies and Qualifying Smaller Enterprise (QSE) suppliers and an increased social investment by the mines in their communities for skills upliftment and their workforce profile.

 

To this end, we appreciate and note the cordial engagements we are beginning to have with our mining sector and their contributions and investments towards education and health are acknowledged, however we are looking forward to making real on the discussions that we have had at forums in the past dating as far back as the Economic Summit in 2009 where the key outcomes with specific reference to mining were that the development and the implementation of the mine’s Social and Labour Plans should be aligned to the Municipal Integrated Development Plans, Preferential Mining procurement should be prioritised, skills development in the mining sector to be up scaled and the development of provincial mining legislation that is aligned to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development (MPRDA) act as well as the  Mineral Beneficiation and Development Regulation.

 

Subsequent to the Economic Summit a provincial Job summit was held in 2012 aimed at bringing together different stakeholders to deliberate on key actions needed to address job creation in the Province. The key outcomes of this summit focussed on the fact that the mining industry procurement should be leveraged to maximise job creation. Thorough consideration to be taken in identifying projects to be funded through the mines’ Social and Labour Plans, mineral value addition through beneficiation should be prioritised and utilising the potential that exists for untapped mining opportunities.

 

This was followed by the signing of the Northern Cape Mining Procurement Charter, where it was envisaged that the said Charter will radically alter the manner in which mining houses procure goods and services in the Province. If the outcomes were to be honoured it would have ensured that the main focus would be to procure goods and services within the Province, thereby lending positive impetus to the Provincial economy as a whole.

 

During the months of March and April 2015, the Department of Mineral Resources together with the Northern Cape Provincial government conducted various Izimbizo across the Province interacting with the public and listening to their concerns. In July of that same year, a Small Scale mining conference was held in Kimberley, where an integrated approach was adopted to identify strategic interventions in conjunction with the Ministry of Small Business, where a sustainability model should be developed for small scale mining in order to support economic development of communities, to assist infrastructural needs of small scale miners and to address the identified challenges, increasing local procurement and achieving unprecedented social benefit for the province.

 

This led us to a meeting earlier this year between Provincial Government and Mine Managers to formalise a social pact between the private sector and government where we opened up discussion to ensure that investment from the mining sector is directed towards bulk infrastructure development which will ensure that long term impact is felt by the people of the Province.

 

I mention the path that we have traversed thus far to showcase that this mining indaba is not held in isolation but it stems from a range of previous engagements that we have had and that we as Government remain committed to. To this end we are hosting this Mining Indaba to formalise the partnership between the Mining Houses and the people of the Northern Cape.

 

The unfortunate situation confronting us is regardless of the various engagements that have taken place over the years we still perceive community members that are disillusioned and disgruntled. We would like to see a renewed commitment from the mining houses that tackles issues of socio economic imbalances, the problems of unemployment, inequality and job creation collectively. This would need a collaborative effort because Government cannot do it alone.

 

I have always been of the view that as the Northern Cape Province, we do not require mere mining companies, but development partners that will enter into partnership with us for the express purpose of improving the lives of our people and more especially the future of our children. We need to break the shackles of the Resource curse associated with mining.  The profits from resources generated from the dividends to shareholders, Social and Labour Plans and Corporate Social Investment needs to be applied to generate a future beyond mining.

 

We call on our mining houses to partner with government through your bursary schemes in providing the much needed skills to our youth. Take bold steps to deliberately create workplace opportunities for our students and business opportunities for those students who want to pursue entrepreneurship as their career of choice through your procurement processes. You must continue to invest in critical skills to effect meaningful transformation of the industry as well as the requisite skills that will contribute to the economy of our country. In order to drive infrastructure and industrial development, skills and capabilities must be improved, while simultaneously forging partnerships with the private sector, trade unions and community structures.

 

I am hopeful that everyone present will participate meaningfully at the Indaba and that your contribution will not only ensure that this conference is a success but that you will continue to remain change agents as we embark on this developmental journey that will ensure a better tomorrow for future generations.

 

I want to leave you with the parting thought, that addressing the socio-economic challenges of South Africa must be the responsibility of everyone; these challenges cannot be left to Government alone. Government, communities and the mines need a common vision to guide our actions and ensure social stability.   I trust that you will enjoy the evening in the company of the Northern Cape Provincial Government and I look forward to further engagement at the Indaba tomorrow.

I thank you