9 February 2011
The South African government has launched a pioneering online system to counter corruption and ensure transparency during the application and granting of mining rights, permits and prospecting licences.
Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu made the announcement at a press conference attended by labour and mining stakeholders in Cape Town on Monday.
Shabangu said she would do a preview of the new system at the Mining Indaba, which started on Monday and runs through Thursday at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
The system, which cost R3.4-million, was safe, said Shabangu, adding that there would be continuous safety checks to guard against illegal activities.
The online system – to be up and running from next week – was a response both to administrative and legislative problems, which previously resulted in some officials engaging in corruption.
Accountability, efficiency, transparency
Shabangu said the new system would ensure accountability, efficiency, transparency and address overlaps on properties applied for, among other things.
It would also form part of the process of amending and strengthening the current mining act, which is currently under review.
“The purpose of the system is to make sure that the data that comes into the department is not corrupted,” she said.
However, the new system would not eliminate the process of adjudication of applications, which is done by the administration.
Moratorium to be lifted
The Department of Mineral Resources was currently consulting relevant stakeholders for the review of the Mining Act, Shabangu said. The Act should be amended after due processes have been followed by the end of the year.
She said those mining rights that had been issued under the current Act with its weaknesses would not be affected by the amendments.
Shabangu also announced that the six-month moratorium on mining licences, instituted last September, would be lifted in March.
During the moratorium, the department had “thoroughly reviewed and mapped its business processes in order to improve efficiency, ensure consistency and achieve greater transparency in the process of allocating prospecting rights, mining rights and mining permits,” she said.