21 July 2020
Honourable Chairperson and members
Acting Minister of Minerals Resources and Energy- Minister Kubayi Ngubane
Director General- Thabo Mokoena, Senior Management of the Department and its entities
Ladies and gentlemen
This budget vote occurs today under trying times. To the minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Cde Gwede Mantashe we wish you a speedy recovery for both himself and his wife, we further extend our thought to the many members of our society who have been infected, affected and those who have succumbed to Covid 19.
Indeed, this budget vote occurs under trying economic conditions for our country which was further exacerbated by the Covid 19 pandemic. The ANC Government approach in combating the pandemic was and still is to put people’s lives first and ensure that we are able to take decisive measures to fight the spread of Covid 19. This therefore required a special budget appropriations budget vote which has resulted in budget adjustments to deal with the pandemic.
The importance of this is that the department will now have to deliver its performance targets with less financial resources and will have to make spend count in the delivery of its programmes. At the same time there are big expectations that this department amongst other will play a leading role to rejuvenate our economy as mining and energy lie at the heart of recovery and functioning of the economy.
To date the integration of the two departments has been a smooth process – the efforts of the Minister and the managerial team of the department make sure the department is up to the task that lays ahead.
The ANC policy on mining is based on transformation of the industry and ensuring the country minerals wealth is of benefit to the people. This policy imperative finds expression and is reflected in the MPRDA and the mining charter. There is further more emphasis to expedite the realisation of all potential backward and forward linkages including a much greater degree of beneficiation – this is a value added economic activity for the country as it contributes to industrialisation, skills development and job creation. We are encouraged that the department has taken this in one of its programmes.
The initiative of the department through the Council of Geoscience to confirm existing mineral deposits across the country creates a resource certainty and renewal in the mining industry which also supports industrialisation and job creation.
We have been assured that the restructuring of the state assets in the mining sector is proceeding with the consolidation of the assets into a single entity. Through this, the state mining company located in CEF will be able to diversify its mining activities. It must be noted that this process is in line with the resolution of the ANC Conference in Nasrec.
As far back as 1994 the reconstruction and development plan espoused an accelerated and sustainable electrification programme – the programme would ensure the households, schools, clinics and often social facilities are electrified. The call was for grid and non-grid sources to provide power to urban and rural areas. It was to ensure that the legacy of apartheid is reversed and improve the quality of life for the poor marginalised. To this end the ANC Government over the years has delivered electricity to households in many parts of the country and to many communities – in spite of a lot of challenges this programme is by and large successful and it is for this season that the committee was concerned at reduction in the budget affecting INEP. However the committee has requested the Minister of Mineral Resources communicates with the Minister of Finance and Treasury before September ameliorate and avoid possible delays in the future implementation of the programme.
The IRP 2019 is also an enabler for the department to start the process of the Nuclear Build programme. This programme is important for the sustainability and extension of the current Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant – it is of long term benefit which is integrated to the energy mix landscape. The recent call for expression of interest is in line with the department process derived from IRP 2019 decision to start preparations for Nuclear Build programme at a pace and scale that the country can afford. Thus the consideration of smaller modular reactors.
Honourable Chair and Honourable Members, in spite of the readjustments in this budget vote downwards the ANC led government is determined to pursue a positive trajectory in the mining and energy sectors. This is based on the historic mission of the African Net Congress of overcoming poverty in equality and unemployed which remain legacies of apartheid colonialism. The revised budget for the current financial year comes to R7.8 billion. It is a major reduction and it is part of the efforts to finance government response to the Covid 19 pandemic. We shall overcome not withstanding any temporary difficulties or challenges government faces.
The ANC supports this budget vote.