Zwane ar­ti­cle was overkill

Business Day - - OPINION -

Natasha Marrian’s ar­ti­cle ear­lier in the week in Busi­ness Day was shoddy jour­nal­ism in­tended to cast Min­eral Re­sources Min­is­ter Mosebenzi Zwane in a neg­a­tive light as well as to fur­ther feed the nar­ra­tive of a min­is­ter who is un­der siege and is not in con­trol of his de­part­ment (Zwane faces re­bel­lion from within his de­part­ment, Oc­to­ber 11).

The Min­ing Ind­aba was a multi-stake­holder event at­tended by thou­sands of del­e­gates from SA and abroad. It is an an­nual gath­er­ing that po­si­tions our coun­try’s min­ing sec­tor with re­spect to in­vestors and other in­ter­ested par­ties, in­clud­ing me­dia. The de­ci­sion by some stake­hold­ers to boy­cott the event takes noth­ing away from its im­por­tance.

The boy­cotters’ de­struc­tive pos­ture in­cludes some of their spokes­peo­ple bad-mouthing the coun­try when they are abroad, telling po­ten­tial in­vestors that SA’s min­ing sec­tor is not worth in­vest­ing in. This is a crude lack of pa­tri­o­tism.

I do not know what “in­ter­nal re­bel­lion” your re­porter refers to in the ar­ti­cle. The de­part­ment is con­tin­u­ing with its daily func­tion of im­ple­ment­ing its an­nual per­for­mance plan and dis­charg­ing its reg­u­la­tory man­date as re­quired by law.

The shift­ing of re­gional man­agers across re­gions is an op­er­a­tional mat­ter that takes place all the time and in all or­gan­i­sa­tions. From time to time, some of the peo­ple af­fected by change ex­press un­hap­pi­ness, but this can hardly be viewed as re­bel­lion. Out of re­spect for our courts, the de­part­ment will re­sist the temp­ta­tion to en­gage in a public spat with the af­fected re­gional man­agers as they re­main em­ploy­ees of the de­part­ment.

That the de­part­ment has been able to ob­tain a clean au­dit can­not be at­trib­uted to just one as­pect of its per­for­mance. Clean au­dits come about as a re­sult of a dili­gent top lead­er­ship and the efforts of all em­ploy­ees (in­clud­ing re­gional man­agers) and I do not see how this can be used to jus­tify your jour­nal­ist’s view that re­align­ing the de­part­ment’s re­sources is in­tended to award min­ing li­cences to cer­tain favoured in­di­vid­u­als.

The func­tion of the award­ing of li­cences is man­aged by a mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary team of ex­perts, of­fi­cials and other stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing af­fected com­mu­ni­ties. It is a rig­or­ous process that can only be done in line with the reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments.

Fidel Hadebe Spokesman, min­eral re­sources min­istry

This is an edited ver­sion; the full let­ter can be found at busi­nesslive.co.za/bd/opin­ion/let­ters/

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