Remarks by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Ms Sylvia Lucas Thabo Moorosi Multipurpose Centre, Kuruman PDF Print E-mail

 

 

Programme Director

Minister for Mineral Resources, Mr Mosebenzi Zwane

Members of the Executive Council

Executive Mayors and Mayors

Senior government officials

Secretary of the Northern Cape Mining Sector, Mr Johan Streuderst

Captains of the mining industry

Representatives from the Chamber of mines

Organised Labour

Civil society

Distinguished guests

Members of the media

Ladies and gentlemen

 

It gives me great pleasure to join you this morning at this watershed event in a year where we celebrate the centenary of the birth of Oliver Reginald Tambo. As we celebrate the life of a giant of our liberation and freedom; we need to learn about and learn from the lives of those who fought tirelessly to bring us our freedom.  The life and legacy of OR Tambo reminds us that every person has the ability to make a difference in the lives of others. Each sector of our society has a role to play in ensuring that we protect and build on our freedom.  It is up to this generation to ensure that we defeat the scourge of poverty, inequality and unemployment. Government, business, labour and civil society must work together to create the country OR Tambo envisaged. We therefore call on all South Africans to play an active role in their communities, and to continue working towards creating a better life for all.

 

 

In 2009 the ANC election manifesto highlighted the Developmental State as the ruling party’s preference that will play a central and strategic role in the economy, hence focusing on the much needed radical economic transformation to meet the needs of the people.  In South Africa the developmental state is essential to the National Democratic Revolution and for the consolidation of democracy. It should be realised that precisely because of its interventionist approaches, the developmental state brings into close proximity the administrative and political interface.

 

The achievements of the democratic developmental state must always be measured by its capacity to promote pro-poor, people-centred, shared, sustainable employment generating development and growth in an environment which respects and nurtures democracy and institutions of democracy and respects the constitution and the rule of law.

 

Ladies and gentlemen

 

Our beloved Province similar to the country is also facing developmental challenges of poverty, inequality and a growing unemployment. Acknowledging the sentiment expressed by the National Diagnostic Report tabled by the National Planning Commission, “Change is not happening rapidly and effectively as it is required”. Alarmingly the slow economic growth experienced of late does not bode well for the alleviation of the socio-economic challenges plaguing our province. As such a need places itself at the door step of the Provincial government, civil society, organised labour as well as organised business to find solutions to ameliorating the three socio-economic challenges bedevilling the Province. Therefore a differentiated approach to ending the scourge of unemployment, poverty and inequality has to be sought and in this process the Provincial Government would have a key role to play. The call for this mining indaba constitutes an intervention by Provincial Government to effectively utilise the mining legislative imperatives as a tool for economic development.

 

Ladies and gentlemen

A finding by the Northern Cape Mine Managers’ Trust was that for the period January to October 2016, nine mines in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District had spent around twelve billion rand on procurement. The unfortunate challenge however is that most of the procurement of the budget, with specific reference to capital goods, is spent outside of the province. Added to this is the fact that there are no plans at stakeholder level to ensure that the people of the province benefit more out of procurement by mines.

 

I do not wish to repeat what I stated at the gala event last night to the captains of industry but the gist of my message is that there needs to be a collaborative approach between government and the mining sector to tackle issues of socio economic imbalances, the problems of unemployment, inequality and job creation collectively. This indaba must therefore be used as platform to:

Explore legal routes or options to facilitate the amendments to the Mining Charter around matters such as the definition of “local content” so as to achieve alignment with the provincial economic growth objective.

Obtain the Department of Minerals and Resources’ (DMR) support for efforts that support the growth and development of the Provincial economy.

Achieve integrated planning between provincial government, DMR and the mines for the development of a turnaround strategy for procurement expenditures by mines outside the province.

Encouraging financial institutions to formulate accessible finance to small scale miners.

We have resolved at previous stakeholder engagements but I need to emphasise once again that there should be better planning and coordination between mine’s social and labour plans. Projects identified by the mines needs to find expression and be aligned to the Integrated Development Plans of municipalities, which will eventually lead to transparent monitoring and evaluation of these projects but in doing so it will lead to a more inclusive and better consolidated social and labour plans, which stands to benefit all stakeholders.

 

Over the past few years’ the Province has not been exempted from the unfortunate phenomenon of retrenchments. For this reason, we need to come up with a clear strategy that allows all stakeholders to commit to interventions to alleviate the economic suffering of the retrenched. These interventions can be short and longer term in nature. Short-term interventions could involve measures to be put in place that can almost immediately provide relief to the economically distressed retrenched workers.

 

This can be done through a joint stakeholder exercise of a skills audit of the retrenched. Subsequent to this, unfunded alternative employment opportunities to which funding must be sought from budgets of unspent social and labour plans can be sought jointly. Long-term interventions need to identify and put in place measures that seek to mitigate potential future job losses resulting from unfavourable economic cycles. These measures are multifaceted and can include empowering the retrenched with new skills sets.

 

These skills will empower retrenched workers to either pursue careers in different sectors such as electricians, plumbers, to mention a few, or position them for self-employment such as providing services to both the public and private sectors. This can be achieved through a facilitated arrangement with the Mining Qualifications Authority with respect to artisanal training.

 

We also need to look at identifying and implementing measures that support a vibrant Small Scale Mining sector. The 2015 Small scale mining conference identified lack of skills both at a managerial and operational level by small scale miners as a critical factor impeding their success. A measure to overcome this challenge includes the provision of the relevant short courses through academic institutions such as Sol-Plaatje University and Technical and Vocation Educational Training (TVET) colleges.

 

Ladies and gentlemen

The successful implementation of and compliance with the Mining Charter, is a critical policy to achieve sustainable and meaningful participation of the historically disadvantaged individuals (HDIs) in the provincial economy as well as the stimulation of horizontal economic value chains to support the development of new sectors in the Provincial economy.

 

These in brief are the critical areas that we as a province feel needs renewed commitment from the mining sector and all stakeholders involved. We all have a role to play in ensuring that the transformation of the mining sector is implemented and is broad-based.  This is a responsibility that we must not take lightly.

 

Thank you