SA Govt. sets new deadline of February 2023 for much delayed mining cadastre

SOUTH Africa’s mining industry will have a new mining cadastral system in place by the end of February 2023 if all goes according to plan.

After 12 years of dawdling and having to make do with a dysfunctional and untransparent mining cadastre, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has finally conceded that it needs to look to other mining jurisdictions where mining cadastres are functioning optimally.

Hilda Mhlongo, deputy director general for corporate services in the department, told members of the parliamentary committee on mining and energy that a new procurement process is underway and that “similar systems” in Botswana and Namibia are being benchmarked which will inform a final decision.

“The terms of reference for a new procurement are still being compiled and will be completed at the end of November 2022 through the bid specification committee,” Mhlongo said.

Government’s IT Agency (SITA) will then advertise and finalise the procurement process by 15 December this year.

During a previous parliamentary briefing, the DMRE told committee members the aim is to conclude the process by end of the current financial year. Departmental officials indicated that the DMRE will settle on a so-called “off the shelf” system similar to what other mining jurisdictions in Africa are using.

The DMRE blamed the slow progress with the cadastral system on a “flawed procurement process” on the side of SITA. According to Mhlongo, the process had to be cancelled in order to avoid “adverse audit findings”.

Industry insiders, however, claim the DMRE is making excuses as its own demands for a proprietary system that was not based on open-source software had been stalling the procurement process that compelled SITA to abandon it.

The industry has pleaded for years with the DMRE to put a cadastral system in place, which will allow applicants to see where mining and prospecting activity are taking place as well as who the owners of the mining and prospecting rights are.

“For 12 years the DMRE has insisted the cadastral system was functional and when they admitted it wasn’t they first had to try everything else before reaching the right conclusion,” James Lorimer, DA spokesperson for mining said.

Meanwhile, the DMRE managed to clear 43,5% of the 4,647 outstanding applications for mining permits, mining rights and permit rights reported in March 2021. The current backlog amounts to 2,625 outstanding applications.

The DMRE was also scheduled to brief members of parliament on progress with investigations into three regional offices ­– Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North West.

“It was, however, removed from the agenda, which begs the question: What has surfaced that the DMRE doesn’t want us to see,” said Lorimer.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Fools paradise…..can have the best system in the world… will not work… existing information on Samrad that will be used as baseline information to populate new system is corrupted and outdated.
    You need an auding process to verify all information before transferring to new system.
    Who will do that? Certainly not Dmre officials…..
    You need practical solutions and a measure of trust where industry and government can work together….and now I find myself in a fools paradise….

  2. Miner is correct – all current GIS information in SAMRAD should be made public and errors and omissions corrected before the new system implemented. It is legally public information and the DMRE has no legal basis on which to keep this information secret – and yet it does. And it is the MCSA who should litigate to get it released – but the MCSA’s members have no interest in transparency either – they say they want a cadastre but do nothing material to make it happen… so here we sit with both the DMRE and the MCSA saying one thing while meaning something else. “Twee gat jakkalse” all over the place.

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