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‘Flies’ and ‘tigers’ will be dealt with in the fight against corruption – Mantashe

May 15 2018 21:09
Lameez Omarjee

Cape Town – Corruption may be at the heart of the backlogs in the issuance of mining rights, Parliament has heard.

According to Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe, who tabled the department’s budget vote on Tuesday, a preliminary investigation found that “no satisfactory” reasons were given for mineral rights applications that were declined.

Mantashe said that the processing of applications for mining licences was “fraught with greater challenges and laced with corruption”.

Mantashe pointed out the declined prospecting rights, unprocessed applications and unexplained red-tape; and the fact that there are no internal systems to detect delays in mineral right applications.

The backlog in new mineral right applications stretch as far back as 2012 in some regional offices. The backlog in renewal applications in some instances extend as far back as 2010.

“The implication of unprocessed renewal applications is that it blocks any other party from applying for mineral right in that area. No satisfactory reasons were advanced as to why we have these backlogs.

“The word in the corridors is that applications from ‘known’ or ‘paying’ applicants are prioritised,” Mantashe said.

During a media briefing following the tabling of the budget, Mantashe told journalists that corruption must be dealt with “aggressively and unashamedly”. He was specifically speaking about licences granted to those who were “connected” or who paid for them.

“If there is proof of discovering people taking kickbacks and corruption – we will recover from them.”

Mantashe said that he liked the lesson from China, not to only “deal with flies, but deal with tigers as well” when it comes to fighting corruption.

The DMR is set on stopping corruption to “get its reputation back”, said Mantashe.

“It is the clean DMR that will bring back investment - not the minister, not the deputy minister,” he emphasised.

Applications backlog

During his address to Parliament Mantashe said that measures were in place to “deal heavily” with corruption and to deal with challenges on the mineral rights application process.  Applications are being audited.

He added that applications should be dealt with chronologically, there should be frequent feedback to chief directors, respective regional managers and the director general on their status.

“The Licensing Committee has started meeting more frequently to process the applications.”


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gwede mantashe  |  mining  |  sa economy  |  corruption
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