21 July 2020

 

Speaker and Honourable members, mining and energy is critical to the economy of this country. The participation of women in these sectors requires special focus. In addition to facing the Covid-19 pandemic, women also face gender based violence in the workplace.

It is appropriate that we pay special attention to the issues of women in mining in this Budget vote as there is still transformation needed and much room for improvement still exists.

 

Mining

The ANC led government policy as set out in the mining charter on the involvement of women in the mining industry which seeks to ensure that 10% of the workforce employed in the sector should be women. As it currently stands, employed women at top management constitute 16%, senior level management is at 17% and skilled technical professionals are at 18%.

As aforementioned, women still face a plethora of challenges in the midst of this pandemic. One prominent challenge is that of safety as women fight GBV which is a pandemic on its own.

As of the 16th of July 2020, the mining sector has reported a total of 5 121 COVID-19 positive cases of which 1153 involved women in mining. The sector has also reported that 589 women have since recovered.

To be able to perform at their best, women need suitable gear as regulated by the department through the Mine Health and Safety Council that developed a guideline on personal protective equipment (PPE) for women in the South African Mining Industry. The guideline was issued to ensure the provision of appropriate PPE for women in mining and promote their health and safety at work.

 

Budget Vote

The adoption of the Budget Vote by the Committee sought that the department should pay attention to the promotion of mine inspections to ensure compliance with Government regulations on the COVID 19 pandemic. There should be a focus on women in the industry affected by COVID 19.

The budget of the Mine Health and Safety was not affected by the reduction of the budget but was rather increased by R6 212 000 which is an increase of 3% and this should enable the entity to effectively perform its mandate.

Taking all of this to consideration, the Mining Inspectorate should contribute to the safety of women employed in the industry as part of eradicating the COVID 19 pandemic and the scourge of gender based violence.

 

Electricity

There has been many protests in townships regarding electricity and these tensions need the speedy intervention of the Executive as these issues can be resolved. The restructuring of Eskom is continuing and much progress has been made in terms of improving governance and maintenance of the plants. This process is critical to eliminate load shedding.

IPPs need to be brought on line to reduce the gap between supply and demand of electricity to eliminate load shedding. This needs attention for service delivery.

The provision of reliable electricity supply at the cheapest possible price is the key to further economic growth.

 

Social Delivery

The electrification of households and the installation of solar water geysers are imperative for the improvement of the quality of life for historically disadvantaged South Africans.

The Department has steadily fixed the administrative aspect of the Solar Water Geyser programme. Attention should be focussed on the roll out of the programme. This will result in a reduction of electricity usage in poor income households and improve the level of disposable income for basic necessities.

 

Liquid Fuels

The department needs to focus on the regulated prices of fuels especially Liquefied Petroleum Gases (LPG) and paraffin as these are fuels utilised by the poor and working class and therefore should be sold at the cheapest possible price.

 

Conclusion

Improving the lives of ordinary South Africans is the agenda of the ANC led Government.

Speaker and Honourable members, the mineral and energy sectors still have a long road to travel to ensure transformation. We believe that with the correct policy and the will to implement these programmes, transformation will be achieved.

The African National Congress supports the budget vote.