“I have had a number of engagements with both current and potential investors, and our message continues to be that South Africa is open for business,” minister Zwane said.
Zwane made the statement after the MPRDA amendment bill was debated in the National Assembly last week; the minister said this was a positive step towards giving investors in the mining and upstream petroleum industries certainty.
The MPRDA amendment bill was tabled in 2013, passed by the National Assembly in 2014 but subsequently referred back to Parliament by the President in 2015 for reconsideration.
It will now be referred to the National Council of Provinces for processing.
Law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has highlighted that the failure of the bill to separate mining legislation from that of oil and gas legislation, besides other contentious issues, has been the result of the bill being sent back for reconsideration.
Some of the early criticism of the upstream petroleum legislation, most specifically the government’s right to a 20% free-carried interest in all new oil and gas ventures in South Africa and the additional 30% share that can be bought at market-related rates, remains unresolved in the MPRDA’s current form.
“Despite being debated on since the MPRDA was first enacted in 2002, it does not seem as if government plans to separate upstream petroleum legislation (which encompasses the exploration and extraction of both off shore and onshore oil and gas) from mining legislation, as a division in government exists regarding this point despite many proponents seeing the splitting of the legislation as the only way forward,” the firm said.