Zwane article was overkill
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/