SADC Parliamentary Forum Charts the Way for way on Model Law for Private Sector Participation in Mining
The SADC Parliamentary Forum’s Committee on Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee has embarked on a strategy to develop model law on private sector involvement on mining that will seek to ensure a shift to inclusive benefits at national and community level from mineral resources. The model law, a first on the continent, will provide guidance for adoption by national legislators on issues such as contracting; increasing local participation and benefits; improving occupational health and safety; social corporate responsibility; curbing illicit financial flows; ensuring mining beneficiation for local communities, contract negotiation and long-term benefits for mineworkers.
During 3 – 5 April Committee meeting held in South Africa, the Committee began with a lesson-learning field visit to the Royal Bafokeng in South Africa’s North West province. Here, they learned how the platinum rich kingdom in the former apartheid homeland of Bophuthatswana had negotiated their land rights and developed a vision that now ensures that the community of over 150 000 people is prospering. Addressing the Committee, His Royal Highness, Kgosi Leruo Tshekedi Molotlegi , of the Royal Bafokeng, said, “When people look at our humble achievements they often say we are lucky that our land sat on natural resources. Our real asset is our people. The real lesson is the institution of governance that has ensured our natural resources are a boon rather than a curse”.
The Royal Bafokeng’s vision stems from an early awareness that mines have diminishing returns and therefore the need for long-term benefits for the community. The Royal Bafokeng used “law fare” instead of “warfare” to obtain rights to their ancestral lands and this allowed them to negotiate with mining companies on an equal basis. The kingdom converted their mining royalties to shares for the long-term benefit of the community while focusing their earnings on immediate term needs for the community, such as education, health and infrastructure. The remainder of earnings have been invested under Royal Bafokeng Holdings in the financial services, telecommunications and oil and gas sectors, among others, with the goal of long-term wealth creation for the community.
The Royal Bafokeng field visit and the Kgosi’s speech during the Committee meetings were true eye-openers for Committee Members. Their inspiring story and results were the talking point of the week and set the foundation for lively discussion on the way forward for developing a model law on private sector participation in mining that can ensure fair and inclusive development.
AWEPA is partnering with SADC PF through support for the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) Standing Committee and the Gender Equality, Women’s Advancement and Youth Development Committee meetings outside of the Plenary Assembly. Under the Austrian Development Aid (ADA)-funded programme, ‘Contributing to Strengthening Development Effectiveness in Southern Africa Through Regional Parliamentary Engagement’, the initiative seeks to contribute to the independent functioning of two Standing Committees and an increase in outputs such as reports, Model Laws, recommendations, questions and scrutiny of SADC decisions.