Dr. Nobuhle Nkabane, the Honourable Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, recently delivered the 2023/24 Budget Vote speech, outlining the key goals and initiatives for South Africa’s mining and energy industries.
Transformation, Empowerment, and Sustainable Growth
As the nation strives to balance its development goals and socio-economic challenges, the Deputy Minister emphasized the importance of transformation, empowerment, and sustainable growth within these sectors. These policies aim to dismantle socio-economic barriers and promote development across race, gender, and class lines.
Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA)
The budget vote speech highlighted the central role that the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) plays in ensuring that the wealth beneath South Africa’s soil benefits its citizens. This act aligns with the Freedom Charter’s principles and forms the basis for various transformative policies, including the Mining Charter.
One of the priorities for the mining and energy sectors is to increase exploration, a goal that often faces obstacles from environmental litigation. However, Deputy Minister Nkabane emphasized the importance of finding ways to satisfy the country’s energy needs while addressing its socio-economic challenges.
State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs)
In the past fiscal year, all State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) under the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s oversight received unqualified audit opinions. The Council for Geoscience, a key player in implementing the exploration strategy, is making progress in geo-mapping key minerals.
Carbon Capture Usage and Storage
The Carbon Capture Usage and Storage research conducted by the Council for Geoscience will contribute to the decarbonization of South Africa’s industries. Initiated as a partnership with the World Bank, the project is expected to receive continued support from international partners.
Nuclear energy forms an essential part of South Africa’s strategy to mitigate climate change. Recognized as a clean energy source with baseload capacity, nuclear power is known to contribute to economic growth and technology development.
National Radioactive Waste Disposal Institute (NRWDI)
The National Radioactive Waste Disposal Institute (NRWDI) is working on the establishment of a Centralised Interim Storage Facility (CISF) for used nuclear fuel. With a draft Feasibility Report currently under review, the project is expected to be shovel-ready soon.
Central Energy Fund (CEF) Group
The Central Energy Fund (CEF) Group is working on strategic initiatives to address structural energy challenges, such as acquisitions, infrastructure refurbishments, and repurposing.
Youth and Gender Strategies
In line with the transformation and empowerment agenda, the Department is focusing on youth and gender strategies within the mining and energy sectors. These efforts include approving and launching the Draft Mining Sector Youth Strategy, Youth in Energy Strategy, and Mining Sector Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Strategy.
A Prosperous and Inclusive Future
As South Africa moves forward, the government’s commitment to a mixed economy with public and private ownership playing complementary roles in economic development remains steadfast. The budget vote speech highlights the importance of transformation, empowerment, and sustainable growth in the mineral resources and energy sectors, setting the stage for a prosperous and inclusive future for all South Africans.