SA state shakes up BEE and mining health and safety

The South African state’s Operation Mining Phakisa aims to increase BEE, mining health and safety, and mining environmental measures from August 2015.

Phakisa may follow the mining and earlier fisheries shake-up with interventions in other industries. Mineral Resources minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi released the Mining Charter 2014 Assessment Report, which measures the progress of the nine key elements of the Mining Charter, including black economic empowerment via sharing wealth, development of human resources, black ownership, mining health and safety, and environmental impact management.

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

South African mining health, safety, environment, skills and social investment seems to be in slow decline, judging by several indicators;
• Investment figures have declined.
• Skills training investment has declined. More than 60% of mining rights holders did not meet the target of skills development investment.
• Health and safety Tripartite Action Plans are lagging, with 92.2% of mining right holders having failed to fully meet the requisite levels of implementation.
• Environmental management plans (EMPs) as required by the Mining Charter, is behind target, with 55% of mining rights not meeting the implementation target.
• Corporate social investment (CSI) had declined. Only 36% of mining right holders have met their set target on mine community development (MCD).
• Procurements of services from BEE (black economic empowerment) was not realised; 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%.
• Sheq, equity and CSI data is lagging. Of 962 mining right holders eligible for assessment, only 442 have submitted the relevant information.
• Women in mining have increased to 14.7% by last year.
• Some hostels remain, since 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.

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

Miners in training is a rarer sight as employers disinvested in human resources development (photo; COM).
Miners in training is a rarer sight as employers disinvested in human resources development (photo; COM).

Operation Phakisa was announced by president Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation Address in 2014, to fast-track black economic empowerment in several sectors. It is based on Malaysia’s Big Fast Results methodology.

The mining leg of Operation Phakisa will “identify key constraints to investment and growth of mining… aimed at transformation of the sector.”

Ramatlhodi said Mining Phakisa would also focus on beneficiation and industrialisation of South Africa.

The Mining Charter would be amended in 2015, taking into account lessons learned and the country’s long-term socio-economic objectives.

Mining jobs and skills losses alarm government

The Mining Growth Development and Employment Task Team (Migdett) had expressed support for the Mining Phakisa. The minister is the chairman of the task team.

Migdett had developed several mining health and safety best practice pilot projects in the past, some of which did not meet with general implementation by operators.

The Migdett meeting was attended by business leaders, the Chamber of Mines, the South African Mining Development Association, as well as labour, represented by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity, and Uasa.

They deliberated on Mining Phakisa, retrenchments in the industry, and the final Mining Charter report. Delegates agreed on adherence to due legal processes in retrenchments.

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

Operation Phakisa tackles mining health

The second Operation Phakisa initiative introduced last year, focused on improving the quality of services in primary health care.

A detailed plan for improving service delivery in public sector clinics in all provinces had been developed and approved by the National Health Council.

The Ideal Clinic initiative was undertaken in collaboration with provinces, districts, clinic managers as well as the private sector and non-profit sector.

Operation Phakisa in e-education and ports
Operation Phakisa Labs in the education sector will focus on information and communication technology to enhancing basic education.

The first project focused on the ocean economy “to contribute to radical economic transformation” last year.

Government had committed R7-b of public sector investment in the ports, via Transnet Ports Authority. Construction of a new berth in Saldana Bay had been started, and progress could also be seen in the extension of the Mossgas Quay and the refurbishment of the Offshore Supply Base, R9.2-b of public and private investment.

The Department of Trade and Industry had designated that working vessels must meet a 60% local content target. The Treasury Instruction Note issued will ensure compliance with this in all tenders.

Various aquaculture projects had been launched, benefiting some rural communities by enabling them to make a living from the sea and inland dams.

The Department of Higher Education and Training has developed skills implementation plans aligned with these initiatives.

The South African International Maritime Institute has been identified as the institution that would facilitate maritime skills development, with the support of the education department.

Transnet to add half-a-million jobs

Transnet, in its strategy to contribute to skills development, job creation, localisation, empowerment and transformation, aims to roll-out a capital investment programme over a seven-year period.

Kgomotso Modise, the department’s deputy director-general responsible for transport, said that while investments would be made in ports and pipeline infrastructure, with the vision of moving freight from road to rail, the bulk of investment would be in rail.

Most of these projects would be fast-tracked as part of Operation Phakisa, the model introduced in June 2014 to fast-track the delivery of services. In its first two phases, it concentrates on the ocean’s economy and on building clinics.

Transnet aimed to create a million jobs by 2022, she said. “Transnet will create approximately 540 000 direct and indirect job opportunities over the next seven- year period.

Through the build programme, procurement spend will be leveraged to increase localisation and therefore maximise job creation.

“In addition, it is also expected that another 480 000 job opportunities will be induced through Transnet spend.”

With an overall investment of R1-billion a year to be spent on training over the next seven years, Transnet would train 3 000 artisans and 1 600 engineers.

The previous South African regime had also used the railways for economic empowerment.

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One thought on “SA state shakes up BEE and mining health and safety

  1. The old adage “the only thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn anything from history” has been turned on it’s head, it seems!

    “Operation Phakisa is based on Malaysia’s Big Fast Results methodology” – in 1995 after the Malaysians made strong representation and recommendation to implement it – they have even had a 2020 Vision (political pun!) since 2000.

    “Kgomotso Modise, said that with the vision of moving freight from road to rail, the bulk of investment would be in rail” – which is the way we moved freight and kept our roads clear, in good condition and safer, I would imagine, many years ago
    “Transnet aimed to create a million jobs by 2022, (and) will create approximately 540 000 direct and indirect job opportunities over the next seven- year period; over the next seven years, Transnet would train 3 000 artisans and 1 600 engineers”. – Yes please, bring back the technicians, artisans and apprentices that made the old SAR&H such a fantastic resource that fed South Africa’s industry.

    A little late, perhaps, but hopefully not too little to boost SA’s economic recovery

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