BEE and the exploitation of abundant mineral resources, citizens not benefiting

Opinion by FF Plus

BEE and the exploitation of abundant mineral resources, citizens not benefiting
BEE and the exploitation of abundant mineral resources, citizens not benefiting

Given the exploitation of South Africa’s great wealth of mineral resources under the cover of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), it is clear that changes have to be made so that everyone can benefit.

South Africa is a country that has abundant mineral resources and it is one of the few countries outside of Europe that has a long mining history. It is an industry that the government does not need to spend much money on. The private sector is very quick to identify the opportunities and make use of them at its own cost. The danger, however, is always that mining could lead to exploitation and that only the business owners, and not the employees, will benefit.

The Department of Mineral resources and Energy is there to ensure that mining companies do not leave the country in a worse state. That is why there are government departments that oversee administration, safety, regulation and policy. The budget to do that amounts to approximately R2 billion, almost the same as Parliament’s.

The government is, however, not doing its part. In various parts of our country, the wastewater from mines is creating an ecological crisis and obvious illegal mining activities are allowed to continue.

The nature of mining in South Africa mainly entails digging and deep-shaft mining. In both cases, it happens that large mining companies conduct their mining activities at the cost of the local community.

That is the experience of the numerous Nama communities on the west coast of the Northern Cape.

On the other hand, we have the political elite taking possession of things that may belong to others. That is what the Griquas from Gong-Gong on the Vaal River allege is happening to them as strangers are mining on their ancestral land.

South Africa is well known for its large-scale deep-shaft mining. It is an expensive process and companies that were founded in South Africa are now expanding to destinations like Canada, Australia and other African countries. That means that there is a great outflow of capital to foreign countries to fund the projects in these countries.

This crisis has a name and a legislative framework that should actually be called Connected Economic Empowerment and the Mining Expropriation Charter. In the interest of everyone in South Africa, favouritism for the elite with political ties must be done away with and the Mining Charter must be radically revised.

Read the original article in Afrikaans by Dr. Wynand Boshoff on FF Plus

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