The Honourable Minister of Mineral Resources, Ms Susan Shabangu,
reinforced during her 2012 budget speech on 10 May 2012, amongst
other things, that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR)
remains determined to continue issuing stoppage notices in terms of
section 54 of the Mine Health and Safety Act, No. 29 of 1996 (MHSA)
to ensure compliance with the MHSA.
The Minister stated, "I want to state categorically that it
is mischievous to regard section 54 as the only contributor to the
loss of production. This flies in the face of the reality that mine
operational challenges, can contribute significantly to low
The Minister added that the stakeholder task team charged with
investigating concerns in respect of the application of section 54
stoppage notices had finalised its investigation. It has been
stated in the press that the task team's report outlining its
recommendations regarding the future implementation of section 54
stoppage notices was ready for consideration.
No doubt all stakeholders, including mining companies, will be
anxious to see if, and how, the DMR intends to integrate and
balance the task team's findings in relation to the actual
implementation of section 54 notices in future, and to see if
consistency, transparency and certainty is achieved.
What does appear to be certain is that the DMR intends to adopt
an approach of stronger enforcement of the MHSA and its penalties
in future, which will include the use of section 54 stoppage
Mining companies should continue to ensure that their health and
safety systems are implemented in strict compliance with the MHSA.
Careful consideration and advice should be obtained before legally
challenging unqualified section 54 notices, which in certain
circumstances may run concurrently with the usual upliftment
procedures before the DMR.
Interestingly, out of the DMR's tabled budget for the
2012/2013 financial year which in total is ZAR1 169 billion, only
ZAR154 million has been reserved for Health and Safety, with
Mineral Policy and Promotion enjoying the lion's share of the
budget allocation in the amount of ZAR596 million. The Minister
stated that the DMR utilised 99,1% of its budget allocation of ZAR1
039 billion in the 2011/2012 financial year.
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