President Zuma’s ANC plan to process the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) Amendment Bill through the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) in a mere 12 days is not only irregular, it shows total disregard for the constitutional role of the NCOP.
I have written to the Honourable Freddie Adams, Chairperson of the Select Committee on Economic Development, Energy amp Mineral Resources, and to the Honourable MJ Mahlangu, Chairperson of the NCOP, to demand that the NCOP follow the correct processes as set out in the Constitution and in the Rules of the NCOP.
According to section 72 of the Constitution of the Republic:
(1) The National Council of Provinces must –
(a) facilitate public involvement in the legislative and other processes of the Council and its committees
Furthermore, section 76 Bills as per Rule 240 must and have always followed a set time-frame of 4-6 weeks in the NCOP. Further processes are as follows, which explains why Bills take time to be processed for public participation and provincial consent:
– Provincial portfolio committees must be briefed on the Bill by NCOP delegates
– Public hearings must be held in each province and reasonable notice given to interested public
– Negotiating mandates must be drafted and approved by the portfolio committees
– The NCOP select committee must consider all the negotiating mandates and refer the Bill back to the provinces for final mandates with amendments, if any, proposed by provinces in negotiating mandates and
– The final mandate of each province must be conferred on its provincial delegate by the provincial legislature (official approval at a plenary of the legislature) and votes taken on their behalf when the Bill comes before the NCOP.
Bulldozing this Bill through the NCOP in 12 days does not give sufficient time for the public participation process, in terms of the NCOP mandate on s76 Bills. Furthermore the provinces cannot send off a final mandate without the proper process being completed in the provincial legislatures.
It is essential that the correct procedure is followed, especially given the extremely negative consequences of this Bill.
Indeed, the MPRDA Bill gives government the power to effectively nationalise oil and gas operations projects at fire sale prices. Drilling companies can be forced, after they have given away 20% free carried interest, to give away the other 80% of the find at price that is at the government’s discretion. This is expropriation, and could most likely be challenged in the Constitutional Court.
When all is said and done, this Bill will harm our mining and energy industry. It will deter investment and ultimately result in job losses.
Zuma’s ANC has proven yet again that they are not interested in fighting corruption and creating jobs. The interest of Zuma’s ANC is to look good for the elections, offer more empty promises and to enrich the lives of an elite few with ties to the upper echelons of the ANC.
The DA will continue to do everything possible to ensure that this is not allowed to go unanswered.
Elza van Lingen, DA Leader in the NCOP
Source : Democratic Alliance