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21st February 2024

February 2023

Dear Friends, what does social justice mean for you? The theme of Social Justice Day 2023 is Overcoming Barriers and Unleashing Opportunities for Social Justice. The United Nations designated 23 February as social justice day. We asked a number of activists to send us two or three lines on what this year’s theme means for them. You can read more about the theme and the origins of the day here.

The social justice stories we share in this bulletin include critical reflections on the Alternative Mining Indaba held recently. We share, in addition, the final communique from the working groups and it is clear to us that the AMI is on a comeback path towards being owned by mining community members, civil society organisations and faith based organisations. At the same time, we look at how our movement has failed to organise real resistance to the Raw Materials Initiative and, to facilitate such, we share an opinion.

Here they are a few statements on what social Justice means for some leaders in our movement:

“Social justice demands redistribution and remedy for past violations… and that all peoples in the present equally enjoy what is needed for a decent life which respects the rights of nature and the interests of the generations to come.” Samantha Hargreaves, Womin African Alliance

“Social justice means everyone’s human rights are respected, protected, and promoted.” Brian Gituanja Muthua, Tax Justice Network Africa, Kenya

“The theme recognises the importance of breaking the artificial barriers that divide us. We can build solidarity to support each other’s struggles for a decent wage, affordable food, housing and access to water. Communities can join together to prevent the destruction of nature and our earth.” Natalya Dinat, Science for the People Southern Africa.

“Allowing the poor and vulnerable to break free and enjoy the natural resources that surround them – land, water, minerals, forests and wildlife.” Farai Maguwu, Centre for Natural Resource Governance, Zimbabwe, 

“This theme opens the possibilities of communities and workers building solidarity and collective action across borders and other arbitrary and artificial divisions of race and class to rein in and supplant the structures of control and exploitation.” Jamie Kneen, MiningWatch Canada

Let us know why you are a social justice activist and we can share it on our website. In the meantime, read and share on!

· OPINION ·

National Democratic Revolution is +Electrification of the Whole Country

In the light of de Ruyters critical comments of the ideology of some of the ANC leaders who he says were of Marx, Lenin and so on, we thought it would be good to paraphrase Lenin. Lenin famously wrote that Communism is Soviet Power + Electrification of the Whole Country

For de Ruyter, the left rhetoric was scaring away investors. It must be stated clearly the failings are simply not about ideology but other more simpler things. Crime, corruption, sabotage and mismanagement to the national development and the wellbeing of the public.

The Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe’s comment that Eskom management was “agitating for the overthrow of the state” and others have said more than that. 

Whether one likes De Ruyter or not, is not important. What he alleged is certainly cause for concern. But many newspapers have been making waves about his testimony, in particular Daily Maverick, where these allegations include sabotage of the infrastructure and the imposition and control of  mafia-like syndicates inside the parastatal that implicate some people in the highest offices of the land. Most damning is the assertion that these crimes are costing us  R1-billion a month! 

That we are sliding (are we not there yet?) into a mafia state did not happen when the lights went out, but it has been a trend that must be stopped now or never. We cannot lament but must rediscover our hope and energies and organise for the society we desire.

To return to Lenin’s report on the work of the council of People’s Commissars, dec 22, 1920 (Moscow, 1975-79), Lenin’s party was clearly more united than the ruling party at this time. The challenge for them as it is for us now, was how to develop the country.

“We have, no doubt, learnt politics; here we stand as firm as a rock. But things are bad as far as economic matters are concerned. Henceforth, less politics will be the best politics. Bring more engineers and agronomists to the fore, learn from them, keep an eye on their work, and turn our congresses and conferences, not into propaganda meetings but into bodies that will verify our economic achievements, bodies in which we can really learn the business of economic development,” Lenin said. The leaders were then set to deliberate on the reports of the State Electrification Commission…

We have our history in our hands but we have seriously dropped the ball. Something is clearly broken and the people are feeling lost and without hope. They are also much poorer. 

But not all the news has been about electrical power. The Budget Justice Coalition response to the Budget speech of Minister Godongwane was that civil society was alarmed at the proposed VAT and fuel levy increases.

In addition, the BJC called on the National Treasury “to present their evidence that VAT will only have a limited impact on the poor, and to demonstrate that all other options would be of greater detriment to the most vulnerable. Treasury must also be asked to present the gender differentiated impacts tax measures will have; as caregivers women are likely to be the hardest hit, and this cannot be ignored”.

This year we marked the 4th anniversary of Brumadinho dam, where 272 people died from tailings disaster. The time since our last occasion and specifically 5 February 2022  marks 7 years since the collapse of a mine shaft at the Lily Mine in Barberton, Mpumalanga. Three mine workers were trapped in a container underground. The three, Pretty Nkambule, Yvonne Mnisi and Solomon Nyirenda remain underground since the incident, and their families and loved ones are still left without closure. Our hearts go out to all those who have lost their loved ones in these types of circumstances here,  in Brazil and elsewhere. At that time, annual mine fatalities were high as I show:

2016: A total of 73 fatalities were reported compared to 77 during the previous year (2015). The industry and the authorities celebrated this an an improvement of 5% year on year. 
2019: 51 fatalities,  
2020: 65  fatalities 
2021: 74 fatalities 
2022: 49 fatalities 

These figures are important but do not indicate those excluded, mining communities and those workers who work unlicensed and unregulated. They also exclude members of the public not employed by mines who have died or were injured in mine related accidents and disasters such as the Jagersfontein disaster. 

The mining corporations keep talking of zero harm, but mining is risky and deadly. We seriously want statistics to include those community members who died from dust, water and air pollution and cancers in the townships of Soweto, Riverlea, Reigerpark and so on. It is then and only then, that we can we track the true costs of mining.

ARTICLES

AFRICA WAKE UP! The Raw Materials Initiative is Colonialism all over again

This sounds like an old call but today more than ever we make the call for Africans, and African Civil Society in particular, to wake up.

In 2018, the European Union set in motion the Raw Materials Initiative (RMI). At that time and since then, they boast that they wanted to “establish an integrated strategy to face the challenges related to access to non-energy and non-agricultural raw materials and facilitate the sustainable supply of raw materials”. What they did not say is that it was neocolonialism 101 and, if they succeed, will keep all Africans in a state of permanent underdevelopment as Walter Rodney wrote in his classic, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1972).

Rodney explains that the current capitalist wealth enjoyed in Europe and other Global North countries is not a miracle or an accident but the result of centuries of brutal and murderous exploitation and oppression that emerged from slavery and colonialism. They developed at our expense.

In the nineteenth century, when the scramble for Africa broke out, it was led by Europeans who were seeking our raw materials. It was accomplished by war and the Europeans wanted to ensure that Africans remained divided so that they could gain what they desired. 

The scramble for Africa was a very brief period between 1881 and 1914, but it was a battle for conquest where rival European countries fought amongst themselves for our raw materials. Some have called this Imperialism but one thing for sure is this: there was always resistance against colonial rule as there was against slavery.
 
To help resolve their differences and rivalries, particularly among the powerhouses of that time, Great Britain and French Third Republic, the Berlin Conference (1884-1885) was convened in Germany. It was one helluva long meeting of minds as they sat for about three and a half months, from November 15, 1884 to February 26, 1885. Their sole aim was to colonise Africa for its raw materials. It was a meeting of Europeans and, as you may expect, no African was present nor invited but this did not mean they were not on the MENU. From then on the use of law, media (propaganda) and marine and military power was now put in use as they colonised Africa through direct rule.

The conference was, in addition, to formalise a process of colonisation that was already on its way even before the conference. But the map of 1913 shows that the period of colonisation was almost complete. One has to go to the end of the 17th century to see a time when Africa was still un-colonised but the Dutch were making inroads into the continent.

Let me come back to the theme of the absent Africans. They were not present but many were not silent. Take for instance the role played by Menelik II, a man who in future would become the Emperor of Ethiopia. At that time, nationalist leader Menelik decided to write a letter to the European states at the conference, in which he asked them to take Ethiopia seriously as a military and political power. He wrote, “I have no intention at all of being an indifferent spectator, if the distant Powers hold onto the idea of dividing up Africa… Since the All-Powerful has protected Ethiopia up until now, I am hopeful that He will keep and enlarge it also in the future, and I do not think for a moment that He [God] will divide Ethiopia among the other Powers.” (Trevor R. Getz)

Whilst the letter was ignored, the country too became subject to attempts to colonise it. The historical detour was necessary only to point out that history must not repeat itself. Any use of the continent’s resources must have the consent of the people directly and their governments thereafter.

The European Commission’s Raw Materials Initiative aims to ensure that Europe agrees and works on a rational approach towards how they exploit us. And it has been going on over the heads of our leaders. In major speeches neither the president, the minerals minister, nor the finance minister seem to be concerned about this, but Civil Society Organisations are.

In addition, it would appear that the African Development Bank, the African Union, the African Mining Vision, and the African Minerals Development Centre as seemingly willing or naive participants in the sell-off of African resources. Either way, this is not good for the continent. Their obsession with “mining above all” undermines other forms of societal development that are less damaging to the planet, the environment and people’s lives.

The African Charter for Human and Peoples Rights preamble makes clear that the task of fighting colonialism and neocolonialism remains. This is elaborated in article 21, which our leaders must heed and act upon urgently. It reads:

Article 21
1. All peoples shall freely dispose of their wealth and natural resources. This right shall be exercised in the exclusive interest of the people. In no case shall a people be deprived of it. 2. In case of spoliation the dispossessed people shall have the right to the lawful recovery of its property as well as to an adequate compensation. 3. The free disposal of wealth and natural resources shall be exercised without prejudice to the obligation of promoting international economic cooperation based on mutual respect, equitable exchange and the principles of international law. 4. States parties to the present Charter shall individually and collectively exercise the right to free disposal of their wealth and natural resources with a view to strengthening African unity and solidarity. 5. States parties to the present Charter shall undertake to eliminate all forms of foreign economic exploitation particularly that practised by international monopolies so as to enable their peoples to fully benefit from the advantages derived from their national resources.


The demands of this clause is that natural resources use and management must be for the people and, if there is to be international cooperation and exchanges, these relations must be amongst equals.

The European Commission does not hide its intentions and never did. They state boldly: “The underlying objective of the different partnerships is to make Europe a world leader in the exploration, extraction, processing and recycling of raw materials.” They affirm that since 2008 they have been working on “improving access to raw materials based on a three-pillar based approach:” international, domestic and recycling. Under the section ‘international’, they state that they want to “ensure a level playing field in access to resources in third countries” – they might have simply said THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES.

As expected, they have been putting pressure on African countries not to tax them for these exports, some so essential that they may be called strategic to national interest. In addition, they have for years been pushing that we Africans not discriminate between a transnational corporation and national company. They have always wanted the transnational corporations to be treated as local companies, but this trick is bad for our own politics which is governed by principles of equity and reconstruction following colonialism and apartheid. We need genuine black empowerment and democracy inside our workplaces. Affirmative action policies are important to redress the past.

We, members of the Tax Justice Movement, have been concerned about how capital profits have taken flight from our countries through both formal (legal) and illicit flows. An Mbeki led African Union High Level Panel on illicit financial flows estimated that between 1970 and 2008 illicit financial flows from Africa were over $800 billion. These losses denied the continent enormous resources and the loss, which they estimated at about $50 billion per year, was massive. 

It seems that the European Commission wants to keep us demobilised and disorganised as they do not want firmer action on the control of capital movements between countries. Profits made here cannot be repatriated at will without developing the countries where these enterprises are located. As expected, they have been putting pressure on African countries not to tax them for these exports, some so essential that they may be called strategic to national interest. 

We are at the beginning stage of this African-centred campaign but the BENCH MARKS FOUNDATION “are ready and able to lead in coordinating this campaign,” as Cloete informed Bulletin before publication. 

To the European Union and the Global North we say:
PLEASE stop making lofty promises of sustainable and equitable development at Conferences but, when push comes to shove, it is Europe first. We have only one Earth and the natural resources of mother earth are not the private property or playground of the Europeans or the North Americans. 

We refuse to be defined by our past; we are not objects of your exploitation. We are active citizens of the global community and have the right to define our own developmental path. If we simply send out our raw materials to you, we will once again be colonised. We must work over time to diversify our economies and put into practice our much celebrated laws and policies on beneficiation, job creation and people-centred development.


Investments for people and the Tobin tax:

Whilst in the early days investment agreements aimed to ensure or guarantee for investors and lenders their investments, through years of experience this seems to have changed. Given the global power imbalance between the Global North and the Global South, it plays out even in the mining sector where it means that the investor called the shots. As a result, they neglect or evade the necessity to invest and act upon social, labour and environmental as well as regulatory commitments that they initially promised. When mining has ended, they are often nowhere to be found when it comes to meeting their post-mining obligations to rehabilitate the land to the state it enjoyed before the advent of mining.  And not only that, the extraction of primary raw materials leaves behind environmental devastation and massive amounts of waste. So as the Global North benefits from the wealth and riches created by extraction on the African continent, they also externalise and leave behind the waste generated during the process.
 
Governments must be brave and act in favour of deeper and wider democracy of workers, mining affected communities, and all who have a real interest in mining and its impacts. The government must ensure effective regulation and begin to hold the polluters and those who damage and overuse our water supplies, in particular, to account. It is important that the leaders in government once again revisit the policies to tax financial transactions and that idea was first rooted by Nobel laureate James Tobin to address short term currency trading and speculation. The rewards of such taxation could, however, be put to good use in national socio-economic development.

To do this, and address the question of investments in infrastructure, governments must recuperate their political will and assert their right to determine financial and investment decisions. Not all investments are good and those that do not dovetail with our national development plan must not be accepted. South Africa will be an investment destination if the investments close the rate and gap of inequality and growing poverty. These investments must create the infrastructure for livelihoods and real jobs to thrive in a sustainable and democratic country. 

Whilst I write as a South African, some of these initiatives and ideas proposed must start us thinking about whether it would work in other countries. It is vitally important to point out that colonisation was not only about subjugating, controlling and exploiting Africans but many other peoples, in particular those in today’s Asia, Latin America and elsewhere who endured and resisted these controls. We share that history with them and we must reconnect to kill an undemocratic and elitist Raw Materials Initiative. We are a free people and have nothing to fear of freedom. We must start living the future we so desperately desire. With hope, hard work, organising every day we shall overcome. 

These are the links they shared to elaborate on their vision. We will in the future share other CSO links.
EIT Raw Materials
European Raw Materials Week
European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA)
The European Commission has created a dedicated website that includes all the necessary information to understand the Raw Materials Initiative.
The European Commission has created a dedicated website that includes all the necessary information to understand the Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) list.
The European Commission has created a dedicated website that includes all the necessary information to understand the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on raw materials.

By Hassen Lorgat

The AMI 2023 – Reflections 

These reflections are but a part of the submissions we have received. You can expect some more in the future.I am an African
by Makhotla Sefuli

The 14th edition of the AMI was held in Cape Town from 7th to 9th February 2023, and I was a first time attendee. I believe this is the relevant platform as we can continue to use it to amplify with vigour the voices of the grassroots activists and communities.

It is my sincere belief that this platform can and must be used to bring in those excluded, the grassroots, to engage more thoroughly on the issues affecting them.

Here are some of the lessons that I have learnt:

POLITICS
Africa has a very serious vacuum of leadership. Our leaders don’t show any willingness – or is it a lack the political will? – to ensure that we all benefit from our minerals. Over 80% of mining communities live in abject poverty while in close proximity to these minerals that are exported out of our countries. This means that we do not benefit and are, in most cases, worse off after mining has come to our communities.

EXPERIENCE
On a more personal level, this was an individual experience that gave me more insight on how other Africans, in particular African CSOs, do things. For the first time I could engage thoroughly with my fellow activists from across the continent.

The after hours engagements and social interaction was another eye opener for me. The Benchmarks Foundation and the Community Monitoring School is a tool I can use for personal empowerment. Being a panellist in the breakaway session was a mind-blowing experience for me. Thanks to the Benchmarks Foundation for this opportunity.

CONCLUSION
South Africa has many regions with mining activity. Many voices from mining communities are still to be heard. Civil society is the most effective platform to give audiences to the communities. Institutions such as the Benchmarks and other organs of civil society can be the best drivers to reach that goal. How do we ensure that those excluded communities are better involved in such a forum is an ongoing debate but we must find solutions for it: fast.

Parliament, here we come

The Bench Marks Foundation’s communications and campaigns department has been hard at work on upping our level of communications inside the organisation and outside. The necessity of re-engaging this space became evident at the time of our Annual Conference 2022, where the stalled mine closure policy was on the agenda. Since and even before that, the Bench Marks Foundation have been exploring how we engage more meaningfully and in a sustained manner with parliament. We have a body of work, studies and investigations that have not been acted upon and this we will strive to set right.

We also sit on an important section, 11 subcommittee at the South African Human Rights Commission, and have opened up access to communities to reach those empowered to address their needs.

Last week, we met again with the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO), led by advocate Mike Pothier. They have set it up as a vehicle to be in contact with elected power and them with the church. “It provides an avenue for the Church – as part of civil society – to contribute to debates on issues of public policy, to exert an influence for the common good in areas of political, economic and social concern, and to help shape legislative and policy developments”.

“They have been around the block a few times and we can learn and must seriously consider partnering with them,” said Moses Cloete, Executive director of the Bench Marks Foundation.

In the next edition, we will talk a bit more about this and report back on our work on the section 11 committee at the South African Human Rights Commission.

Final communique of AMI 2023: A just energy transition: Unlocking Community Potential and Participation (It can be found here)

We, the 452 in-person and delegates comprising community and environmental activists as well as supporting civil society organisations (CSOs), trade unions, researchers, organic intellectuals, members of the media convened our 14th Edition of the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) from the 7th to the 9th of February 2023, in Cape Town. Building up from the 13th edition and in pursuit of a fair energy transition, our overarching theme: “A just energy transition: Unlocking Community Potential and Participation” challenged communities to reclaim power and unlock potential as well as execute the mandate to hold business and government accountable.

A just energy transition (JET) demands an egalitarian society where no-one is rich or poor but has equal access to resources and opportunities to improve the living standards of communities. Integral to this, is the right to participate in critical decision-making in matters that affect our own lives. It follows that we will not wait for anyone to define the transition without us and the most marginal in our society. Putting into perspective the efforts to ensure the energy transition is “just” and is therefore, centred on the needs of communities – their culture, diversity and leadership with a special bias towards children’s and women’s rights within the framework of community-led initiatives.

Unlocking community potential and participation demands power and the rights that are contained in many of our national constitutions and international human rights laws and instruments. Human dignity, equal rights and participatory democracy is our primary call, not mere rhetoric about ‘just energy transition’ as if the existing asymmetrical power relations have been addressed. A just transition is not merely about accessing electricity or moving to alternative sources, but much deeper than this. It should be a total transformation of the status quo from provision of clean water, access to health care and total eradication of poverty.

The watch words are development not only for the people but with the people. We assert that there can be no progress for African communities impacted by mining without their participation in real and effective decision-making in our countries and international platforms. It is the first step towards eliminating poverty and inequality and the systems that cause marginalisation and social exclusion.

Equally critical are the rights of people to live in harmony with nature, based on their cultural and religious values by ensuring that natural resources governance benefits them, including their communities to realise socio-economic growth.

We strongly uphold our principle of people-centred approaches in all interventions of which women and children should be at the core. We remain adamant on our long standing demand for meaningful community consultations and broad-based engagements as we also remind you “Nothing about us – without us”.

Also read the outcomes of the Thematic Social Forum on Mining and Extractivist Economy (2018).

Central to the struggles for alternatives is the right to say NO. We say NO to this model of extractivism and converge on the position that all remaining coal, gas and oil reserves must remain underground; circular economies in which minerals and metals are recycled and brought back into production must characterise a sustainable future; moving into new frontiers of extractivism, such as deep sea mining, is a false solution; the excessive consumption of all in the global north and south must be curbed, based on the principles of sufficiency. Productivism, endless growth and accumulation for accumulation’s sake must be reversed. As it was said during the Forum: ‘We do not live to produce but we produce to live’.

The co-option of traditional leaders to facilitate the penetration of extractivism into our territories is rapidly undermining the legitimacy of these structures and calls for the renewal of popular democracy at all levels especially at local community level.

Go here for the full declaration

THEORISING PRACTICE

In this section, we share two articles and links to other forms of obtaining knowledge, in particular the podcast and a documentary film to explore how the so-called “ordinary folk” are indeed knowledge creators and not merely consumers of other people’s knowledge and information. 

The podcast is a conversation with two Bench Marks Foundation staff members who are discussing the publication on the writings of Community Monitors entitled, WALKING TOGETHER FOR CHANGE which can be found alongside the podcast.

Sarwatch‘s study Woman on Coal can be found here. And the documentary is a reflection on the methodologies used in the study

Woman on Coal – a feminist participatory research project
by Frieda Subklew-Sehume

This was my second Alternative Mining Indaba. As an advocate for women’s rights, I attended the 14th Alternative Mining Indaba with this lens. I chose the session “Women’s Voices in Climate Change” hosted by Southern Africa Research Watch (SARW) to see how Sarwatch applied a gender lens in its work.

This session also served as the launch of the report titled Women On Coal which highlights the challenges, prospects and views of women in Carolina, Mpumalanga, over coal mining, climate change and Just Energy Transition.

Eight women shared how they became feminist researchers focusing on coal and climate change in Carolina. These women are Bongekile Zwane, Lucia Khumalo, Ronesa Mtshweni, Angel Beauty Mnisi, Lettey ‘Mama” Nkambule, Mavis Sonto Ngubeni, Nomonde Nkosi and Patience Mnisi.

All of them had life experiences but were in no way or form formally trained researchers. The SARW training not only strengthened their capacities in terms of research, but also it achieved much more. It was action and participatory research that resulted in an ongoing reflection of their lives with coal, it raised the level of feminist consciousness in their work and ultimately turned them into respected community leaders.

In the project “Women on Coal”, they were the principal researchers and set out to analyse the views, aspirations and stories of women from three areas in Carolina around climate change, coal (coal disinvestment) and the just energy transition.

The women of Carolina, working with SARW, found that women bear a greater burden of the impacts of coal mining. The researchers found that fewer than 2% of the women participants in the research were formally (directly) employed by the coal mines; the rest were in the informal / precarious economy. They also found that corruption in coal mining contexts includes cases of “sextortion”, where employment is only guaranteed in exchange for sexual favours.

The researchers confirm that women’s roles in the coal-based economy are largely informal, “invisible,” and unpaid, and there is a risk that historical gender imbalances will be perpetuated, excluding women from opportunities in the new clean-energy economy.

At the same time, women reported domestic abuse from a partner, spouse or close family relative and indicated alcoholism, unemployment and ineffective police enforcement as some of the main causes of the high rates of violence in households.

In addition, the researchers suggest that if and when unemployment increases among the formally employed male miners, women may experience even higher levels of domestic violence, with little potential for improvement. They conclude that without a gendered approach to the future clean energy economy, women will continue to lose out on opportunities for financial mobility.

For us at the Bench Marks Foundation, it was an interesting way of taking both our community-based research processes and our focus on women a step further. Community monitors have supported our research processes before, but we have not yet elevated them to principal investigators. Having trained community-based researchers myself in the past, I was reminded of the power of the experience by the women of Carolina. They had gained voice and agency.

Another interesting take-away for me, which I shared with the Bench Marks Foundation, was their approach that resulted in the compilation of a community manifesto. This was used for advocacy, in particular to demand real and lasting change and a community based launch of the results.

It was an insightful session. Thanks to SARW and the principal investigators of Carolina!

RESOURCES

☑️ Ten rules: following bell hooks’ instructions for our movement

“It is obvious that many women have appropriated feminism to serve their own ends, especially those white women who have been at the forefront of the movement; but rather than resigning myself to this appropriation I choose to re-appropriate the term ‘feminism,’ to focus on the fact that to be ‘feminist’ in any authentic sense of the term is to want for all people, female and male, liberation from sexist role patterns, domination, and oppression.”
– Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, 1981

To read all the other rules, please go here

⚖️On the sidelines of the #AMI2023, we held a stakeholder consultation and sensitisation for the Coalition Against SLAPPs In Africa (CASA). The CASA is designed to profile & expose SLAPP suits, support watchdogs, ensure solidarity and provide legal and financial support. A recent development suggests that CSOs are getting their act together. For an update on the constitutional court case, read here.

🛢️ Parliamentary hearings: Parliament of South Africa is inviting inputs from the public on the Upstream Petroleum Resources Development Bill [B 13—2021] (UPRDB)

The National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy acting under section 59 (1) of the Constitution, seeks to facilitate public involvement in respect of this Bill and is accordingly inviting comments and inputs from interested stakeholders.

Purpose of the Bill: The Upstream Petroleum Resources Development Bill seeks to separate petroleum provisions from minerals provisions as currently provided for in the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (the MPRDA), 2002 (Act No. 28 of 2002). This separation was necessary because of the need to provide for two independent pieces of legislation addressing matters pertinent to each industry and to bring about stability and security to investors, especially in the upstream petroleum sector. The Bill enhances State participation in the upstream petroleum industry and economic transformation of the industry. It also includes provisions which promote petroleum resources development in a sustainable and equitable manner for the benefit of all South Africans. It further aims to improve the proficiency and effectiveness of legislation in achieving the primary objective of creating the upstream petroleum regulation regime that conforms to regulatory best practice.

Moses Cloete serves as the editor at large of this edition. Unless otherwise indicated the writing and presentation of the Bulletin is by Hassen Lorgat. Marta Garrich helped with additional editing and layout of the newsletter. Simo Gumede is responsible for the members and partners database management. Illustration by Sadek Ahmed in the header image.