Mining forum calls for probe into skills development body
THE MINING Forum of South Africa (MFSA), a non-governmental organisation focused on monitoring compliance with social and labour plans of the mining industry, has called for a probe into the Mining Qualification Authority (MQA).
The forum alleged that the MQA, the body responsible for skills development programmes in the mining industry, was grappling with a crisis of leadership, management, and governance as well as a lack of capacity.
It said it had laid complaints that the roles of chief executive and chief operations officer were occupied in acting capacities and this created problems for the MQA.
MSA founder Blessings Ramoba charged that the MQA had not paid student bursaries nor graduates in mines.
“The only thing they (MQA) know is corruption and looting. We want them out – and to resign immediately. They cannot run the organisation,” said Ramoba. “We want the board to account in Parliament.”
The MFSA said it had written to MQA chairperson Mthokozisi Zondi for an overhaul of the executive and for the board to appoint a task team to take over the reins. Ramoba is scheduled to meet with the MQA board shortly.
The call follows an investigation by the MFSA into the MQA found that its skills systems structure was “currently ineffective and not working well”.
Among the list of failures at the MQA, the MFSA listed poor governance and leadership, poor management and delivery of bursary programmes, and irregular expenditure.
The MQA current skills development system was largely failing to address the skills needed by South Africa’s harsh economic climate.
The MQA is one of South Africa’s 21 Sector Education and Training Authorities.
However, the MQA chief executive, Tebogo Mmotla, said he welcomed the study by the forum of South Africa. However, he did not agree with the concerns at all.
“We have implemented skills programmes and portable skills in a number of communities in the country and they are working. There is no corruption, neither incompetent leadership nor lack of corporate governance at MQA, because the latter obtained an unqualified audit opinion from the auditor-general of South Africa,” Mmotla.
“The MQA board has proven to be very competent, because it is the same board which steered the MQA to achieving the unqualified audit report during the financial year 2016-2017. The auditor-general has further confirmed same during the audit and the evidence is in the annual report, 2016-2017, which is a public document. Our aim this year is to get a clean audit report from the auditor-general of South Africa,” he said.
Mineral Resources portfolio committee chairperson Sahlulele Luzipho said this week that the committee would allow the MQA to deal with the matter.
Mining companies contribute 1 percent of payroll levies to skills development and 10.5 percent of this was utilised for administration expenditure within the MQA, according to the Chamber of Mines.