Cape Town - It appears that Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu’s assurance that the names of task team members on hydraulic fracturing are already freely available, is not quite true.
Only three weeks ago she told the Cape Town Press Club that the names of the task team had already been published and were available to the public because it is a “transparent” process.
But Shabangu responded to a parliamentary question from Gareth Morgan
(DA) this week saying that the names could not be disclosed at this stage because the team had to be able to execute their mandate “without any possible interference”.
The task team was appointed at the end of May – just after the first moratorium on shale gas exploration in the Karoo – to investigate the controversial issue.
Jonathan Deal, who chairs the Treasure the Karoo Action Group (TKAG), sounded Shabangu out at the August 18 Press Club meeting on who precisely the task team members were, as this had never been revealed.
Shabangu created the impression that the names had already been officially publicised, and that Deal had overlooked them. She was unable to provide the names and those of the task team's technical work group. She said that was like expecting her to know the names of all 700 employees in her department. She undertook to provide the names.
The TKAG had already on August 10 submitted an application for information about the task team to the department of mineral resources in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act.
It had asked, inter alia, for the names and qualifications of the members of the task team and the work group.
The names of the task team members had however already been published by Sake24.
It is being led by Advocate Sandile Nogxina
, former director general of mineral resources.
The other members are Joel Raphela, deputy director general of mineral regulation, and Mthozami Xiphu, chief executive of the Petroleum Agency of South Africa.
The department of science and technology is represented by Dr Velaphi Msimang, chief director for hydrogen and energy services, and Claudy Steyn, chief director for chemicals, plastics, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics at the department of trade and industry, representing that department.
Only two members of the task team's work group are known.
Shabangu is further being criticised because the department of water and environmental affairs is not part of the task team.
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