Mining Operation Phakisa gets going


15 May 2015

Work on moving forward the mining sector, through Mining Operation Phakisa, will start in August.

“Government will convene all stakeholders in the industry in a lab process whose main objectives is to develop implementable results that will transform the industry and increase investment, in line with the goals of the National Development Plan,” Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi said on 14 May.

Operation Phakisa was announced by President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation Address in 2014. It was designed to fast-track the implementation of solutions to critical development issues. It is based on Malaysia’s Big Fast Results Methodology.

The mining leg of Operation Phakisa will identify key constraints to investment in and growth of the industry as well as develop a shared vision and growth strategy for the long-term development and transformation of the sector.

Speaking during a media briefing in Pretoria yesterday, Ramatlhodi said the Mining Phakisa would also focus on finding “win-win” solutions in dealing with the role and contribution of the mining industry to beneficiation and industrialisation.

Task team meeting

Stakeholders of the Mining Growth Development and Employment Task Team, whom he met earlier in the day, had expressed support for the Mining Phakisa. The minister is the chairman of the task team.

The meeting was attended by the leadership of business, the Chamber of Mines and the South African Mining Development Association as well as labour, which was represented by the National Union of Mineworkers, Solidarity and Uasa. It deliberated on issues such as the upcoming Mining Phakisa, retrenchments in the industry and the final Mining Charter report.

“As the regulator of the mining industry, we are alarmed at the rate at which retrenchments have been taking place in the industry. As stakeholders, we understand well the impact of job losses on the economy,” Ramatlhodi said.

Members at the meeting agreed on adherence to due legal processes when dealing with retrenchments, he added.

Final report on Mining Charter

Ramatlhodi released the Mining Charter 2014 Assessment Report, which measures the progress of the nine key elements of the Mining Charter. The latter was developed with the view of driving the transformational agenda in mining, a critical sector of South Africa’s economy.

The elements to be measured seek to redress the imbalances of the past both in the sharing of the wealth with previously disadvantaged people and in the development of the human resource and ownership of the mines.

“Out of 962 mining right holders eligible for assessment, 442 mining right holders have submitted the relevant information,” Ramatlhodi said. In addition, overall representation of women across all functional categories had increased to 14.7% by 2014.

Data on housing and living conditions showed that overall, 45% of mining rights holders did not meet the target for improving the living conditions of the mineworkers by either reducing occupancy rate to one person per room or converting hostels to family units.

Missing targets

More than 60% of rights holders did not meet the target of skills development investment. “The data shows that nationally, only 36% of mining right holders have met their set target on mine community development (MCD),” said the minister.

“On implementation of Triparte Action Plans (Health and Safety): 92.2% of right holders failed to fully meet the requisite levels of implementation.”

In addition, 55.5% of rights holders did not meet the target of implementation of the environmental management plans as stipulated by the charter.

“With respect to procurements of services from BEE [black economic empowerment] entities, 66.8% of the industry did not meet the 2014 target of 70%… On procuring consumables from BEE entities, 40% of the industry did not meet the 2014 target of 50%.”

Ramatlhodi said the Department of Mineral Resources had started engagements with individual rights holders that had failed to comply with the law. “The department will communicate the assessment scores with all individual right holders.”

The Mining Charter would be amended this year, taking into account lessons learned and the country’s long-term socio-economic objectives.