Cabinet approves moratorium of state mining assets

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pretoria - Cabinet has approved the moratorium placed on the disposal of mining assets held by State entities until the Minister of Mineral Resources Susan Shabangu concludes an audit in this regard.

"This moratorium is intended to provide the Minister of Mineral Resources with adequate time to conduct and finalise an audit of mining interests held directly or indirectly by the state. 

"This audit will enable the state to decide whether to consolidate, retain or dispose of such interests," Government spokesperson Themba Maseko said on Thursday, following an ordinary meeting of cabinet.

Mr Maseko said any exceptions to this moratorium will require discussions with Minister Shabangu and final approval from Cabinet before finalisation.

The moratorium will be in place until the minister has completed the audit and goes back to Cabinet with a clear recommendation on whether the state should consolidate or dispose of the assets. 

He explained that the audit intends to give government an overview of the assets it has.

Cabinet has also approved the Personal Information Bill aimed at protecting the constitutional right to privacy. According to Mr Maseko, the Bill will be tabled in Parliament soon.

"The Bill was drafted by the South African Law Commission and seeks to protect the constitutional right to privacy as far as processing of personal information is concerned," he said, adding that the right to privacy should be balanced against other rights such as the right of access to information.

The progress report on the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendations was approved and will be tabled in Parliament at its next session. The document is a progress report of what has been done with relation to the recommendations of the TRC. 

On other outcomes of the Cabinet, Mr Maseko said the meeting approved the revised Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA) for non-reciprocal trade preferences between the African, Caribbean, Pacific Group and European Community countries.

The agreement provides for non-reciprocal trade preferences among signatories and contributes to dialogue on political and sustainable development. The CPA will be submitted to Parliament for ratification, Mr Maseko said.

Cabinet further approved a Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) to achieve social cohesion and development in rural communities.

Explaining the programme, Mr Maseko said it was based on three key pillars. These included co-ordinated and integrated broad-based agrarian transformation, an improved land reform programme and strategic investments in economic and social infrastructure in rural areas.

Through the CRDP, government aims to create sustainable rural communities throughout the country, with the ultimate goal seeing sustainable rural communities that are characterised by social cohesion.

The CRDP will be launched by President Jacob Zuma in Giyani, Limpopo, on 17 August.