Gwede Mantashe, minister of South Africa’s newly merged Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, or DMRE, has set aside R20 million in the current financial year to improve and develop an integrated licensing system over the coming two years.
This announcement was made by DMRE minister Gwede Mantashe as part of the department’s 2019/2020 budget vote presentation.
While a large sum allocated to this initiative, it forms part of a much larger sum allocated to developing and improving the mining sector. “R2 billion has been allocated to mineral resources for the 2019/2020 financial year; of which 52% goes to entities in our portfolio,” said Mantashe.
Discussing the issue of licencing in South Africa, Mantashe said: “We have made significant strides in processing the backlog in licence applications, in our Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North West regions. These offices have now been reopened.”
“Turnaround times to process licence applications are under review. Timeframes must be short, without having to effect major legislative amendments, by adopting more effective and efficient internal processes. This will ensure that we are more responsive to the needs and requirements of our applicants.”
Merging two significant portfolios
Discussing the merger of the mineral resources and energy departments, Mantashe highlighted the need for the department to be more efficient, “especially in these tough economic times. We must, nonetheless, give practical expression to and execution of the electoral mandate to grow South Africa.”
“We must do so in line with the seven priorities outlined by the President in his State of the Nation Address.”
Merging the departments asserts their mutually reinforcing nature; and, thus enables streamlining of processes, integration in the value chain from upstream to downstream, and ensures alignment of the policy and regulatory framework for stability and investment, Mantashe noted.
“Reconfiguration should result in a department that is adequately capacitated, efficient and responsive.”