Two-year delay in SA’s new minerals cadastre put down to “ulterior motives”

James Lorimer shadow mines minister, DA MP

THE real reasons underlying the extended delay in the introduction of a new mining cadastral system for South Africa involve “ulterior motives”, according to DA shadow minister for mineral resources, James Lorimer.

Taking part in the Junior Indaba being held in Johannesburg Lorimer commented: “I don’t buy these excuses at all. This is just too much. I don’t think it suits certain people to have a totally transparent cadastral system. That’s the only conclusion I can come to.

“Any minister who had an inkling of the importance of this would be sitting on the heads of other government departments making it all happen,” Lorimer said, adding that if the DA were in power a new cadastral system would be in place within six months.

Asked whether he thought corruption was involved in the delays over introduction of the cadastral system – given the DA’s view that a new system could be brought in so quickly –  Lorimer replied: “I think so”.

A mining cadastral system keeps track of which company has been awarded prospecting permits over what ground. The current system in use – SAMRAD – has been declared to be a disaster by Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe.

The government has currently put out a tender for a new system a year after one was supposed to be introduced.

Mantashe – who was supposed to address the Junior Indaba on Thursday morning but cancelled at the last minute to be replaced as a speaker by Lorimer – admitted in April at a platinum investment conference that he not have full control over delivery of the new mining cadastral system.

He also commented he could not predict when one would be introduced saying: “I am working on it. I have learnt not to put time frames on things over which I do not have full control”.

Mantashe attributed the delay to the government “procurement framework”.

Asked about general corruption in the mining industry and lack of government action  Lorimer said it was widespread and he had recently visited Emalahleni to look into an extensive illegal coal mining operation.

“This had been completely ignored for the past six months. Nothing is being done about it. It’s quite clear there’s a lot of crookery going on.

“The police are doing nothing – they are probably being paid off. The municipality is doing nothing – they are certainly being paid off. The DMRE has an office 9.2 kilometres away and they are doing nothing.”