Deputy Speaker, there can be no doubt that stakeholders in the mining sector face a highly
challenged industry. Corruption and policy uncertainty have in the past resulted in a drastic reduction in fixed investment in mining. However, the ACDP welcomes the improvements in this regard and the degree of policy certainty that has now been introduced in this new administration.
The mining industry also faces variable commodity prices, mounting costs and logistics issues. It is an industry that must be supported, given that the minerals sector contributes about 7% of gross value added of the country. It is also responsible for more than a quarter of foreign earnings from exports. The number of jobs that have been shed over the last five years, where the number of employed persons has almost halved in this industry, is a matter of great concern. So clearly it does need protection.
The ACDP appreciates the work done by the Mine Health and Safety Council. While certain South African mines are the deepest in the world, every life lost in our mines is tragic and every step must be taken to safeguard the
lives of mineworkers. Research and development in seismic activity must be improved and properly resourced.
We also understand from the report that there are serious issues negatively affecting miners and communities, especially in the Mpumalanga province, which require urgent attention.
Another challenge highlighted in the report is weak legislation in combating illicit trade in precious metals and diamonds. According to reports, the country is losing billions of rand in this practice and far more needs to be done in this regard.
It will be crucial for the committee to ensure that its recommendations are complied with, particularly now that two departments have been joined together. This will result in a much heavier workload. However, notwithstanding the reservations, the ACDP will support this Budget Vote. I thank you.