SOUTH AFRICA: NATIONAL ASSEMBLY VOTES IN FAVOUR OF MINING AMENDMENT BILL

South Africa's National Assembly has adopted the amendments to the Mining and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill and referred it to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for consideration.

This comes after the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources reprocessed the bill after President Jacob Zuma had sent it back to Parliament earlier this year to ascertain if it would pass Constitutional muster.

Following deliberations on the amendments to the bill, 198 members of Parliament voted in favour of the amendments, while 81 voted against the amendment, with one abstention.

National Assembly Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli said the President's reservations on the bill would be referred to the NCOP for further processing.

In January, the Presidency released a statement in terms of section 79(1) of the Constitution on the basis that the definition of "this act" was likely unconstitutional.

The Presidency said at the time: " The amended definition elevates the Codes of Good Practice for the South African Minerals Industry, the Housing and Living Condition Standards for the Minerals Industry and the Amended Broad-Based Socio-Economic Empowerment Charter for South African Mining and Minerals Industry to the status of national legislation.

"In addition, in terms of Section 74 of the Amended Act, the Minister is given the power to amend or repeal these instruments as and when the need arises, effectively by-passing the constitutionally mandated procedures for the amendment of legislation."

Ahead of the amendments being approved by the National Assembly on Tuesday, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has expressed his appreciation to Members of Parliament for decisively processing the bill.

"We appreciate and commend the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources for dealing decisively with the processing of the Bill, while addressing legitimate concerns raised by the President.

"The resolutions herein tabled for debate ought not to be seen as being contrary to the basis of the referral of the bill, but more of the reaffirmation to the President that legislators have satisfied themselves that indeed the bill will now pass the Constitutional muster," Minister Zwane said.

He said when he assumed office in September last year, he made a commitment that the department would do everything in its power to mobilise for the swift processing of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill.

He said during consultations, the mining and upstream petroleum sectors expressed a need for a stable and predictable regulatory framework.

The bill seeks to, amongst others:

. Improve the ease of doing business;

. Improve the regulation of Social and Labour Plans to optimise the impact of the mining industry to development, and consolidate these into district municipalities' Integrated Development Plans (IDPs);

. Introduce a credible and orderly means of State participation in the development of the nation's petroleum resources;

. Provide for an integrated licensing regime for the granting of rights, issuing of water use licenses and approval of environmental authorisations;

. Provide for regulation of associated minerals;

. Provide for designation of minerals as strategic for the purposes of supporting local beneficiation and industrialisation; and

. Align the provision for sanction to non-compliance with the Competition Commission, and introduce a deterrent to non-compliance.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK.

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