Zuma awaits Mbete’s green light on minerals bill

2014-10-08 06:00

President Jacob Zuma says he is awaiting a reply from National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete before he decides whether to sign the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill into law.

The bill was passed by Parliament before this year’s election, and sent to him for assent.

In a written reply yesterday to a parliamentary question, Zuma said he had received submissions against signing the bill into law from Legal Resources Centre attorney Henk Smith and Democratic Alliance MP Wilmot James.

“Mr Smith and Dr James have requested that I refer the bill back to the National Assembly ... on the grounds that the National Assembly, National Council of Provinces and the provincial legislatures failed to take reasonable steps to facilitate public involvement when the bill was passed.”

Zuma said he had written to Mbete seeking her advice on the process that was followed by both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces before the bill was passed.

“The information will assist me to take a decision regarding the bill,” he said.

Among other things, the bill aims “to provide for the regulation of associated minerals, partitioning of rights and enhanced provisions relating to the regulation of the mining industry through beneficiation of minerals or mineral products”.

Economists have warned it could scare off mining investors, and create difficulties for the sector.

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