MPRDA drifts as Parliament dwells on ignored communities

COMMUNITIES should have a bigger say in the granting of mining licences, prospecting rights, and environmental matters, said Abram Sithole, CEO of the National House of Traditional Leaders.

Sithole was part of a delegation that made a submission to the parliamentary oversight committee on mineral resources this morning on the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment (MPRDA) Bill.

In January last year, President Jacob Zuma declined to sign the MPRDA into law as he believed the bill should have been referred to the National House of Traditional Leaders for comments as it affected the customs of traditional communities.

After a silence of close to 18 months, the Bill made its reappearance on the parliamentary agenda today and MPs will now have to decide on the process going forward.

In its submission, the House of Traditional Leaders argued that the MPRDA Bill should be regarded as a “Section 76” bill, which means the draft legislation affects provinces and should therefore be referred back to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). If it follows this route, the NCOP will most likely have to conduct public hearings on the Bill before it can be referred back to the National Assembly.

“We view as a serious drawback the alleged opinion that the Bill should not be referred to the House of Traditional Leaders,” Sithole said.

In addition, the body insisted on more significant consultation with traditional leaders and the affected community when mining-related decisions are to be taken. “There is currently a lot of revolt from communities against mining houses,” Sithole added.

Sahlulele Luzipho, chairperson of the committee, said MPs will next week deliberate on whether the MPRDA should be regarded as a Section 76-bill, or categorised as a Section 75 bill.

If the latter is the case, the bill will not be subjected to an NCOP process and will be referred right back to the National Assembly before being passed on to Zuma for ratification.

The committee has less than a month to deliberate on the Bill, as parliament closes at the end of May to allow MPs to take part in preparations for the local government elections on 3 August.

1 COMMENT

  1. The Union was formed in 1910 to eliminate rent-seeking rail and customs tariffs and instead provide commercial certainty and efficient, streamlined government between the four colonies.

    The increasing ability for rent-seekers to hold the system to ransom is undermining the very reason why the country came into being.

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