Tag Archive | Susan Shabangu

Gender Equality Act gets going in new form

Women power gets muscle….

women in businessThe newly re-formed Commission on Gender Equality has been signed into effect by President Jacob Zuma in terms of amendments recently passed to the Gender Equality Act.

The Act, which now changes the name of the commission to a slightly altered name, the Commission for Gender Equality, makes amendments that clarify the purpose of the commission and provide for its continued existence under the Act.

Beatrice Ngobo, past chairperson of the Commission on Gender Equality, noted originally that there were both “women in Parliament and good laws to protect women, but they were never properly publicised”. She said that when it came to actual implementation and not just talk, people at the front line were mostly men. “They won’t give up power easily”, she commented.

Managers mainly male

The nation’s employment statistics were depressing to her at the time. She noted that whilst strides had been made in some sectors, men still occupied 63% of top management positions in the private sector. Less than 3% of managers were black women, she said at the time.
Her plans have now come to fruition with past minister of women and children and people with disabilities, Lulu Xingwana, leading the charge with the passing of the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Amendment Bill after a somewhat controversial lack of an ANC quorum.

It will be up to the new minister, Susan Shabangu, to implement the new regulations in terms of the reformed ministry now named the Ministry for Women’s Affairs.

Women’s League comments

The ANC Women’s League recently noted that “although a number of policy guidelines, legislative frameworks and institutions doing credible work on women’s matters exist in South Africa, the lack of coordination of these efforts renders them ineffective or only partially beneficial”.   They hope now for change.

The role and powers of the commission for gender equality itself are clarified in the amendments as is the promotion of respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality.

When invested with the necessary powers by the newly signed Act, the commission will be able to “monitor, investigate, educate, lobby, advise and report on issues concerning gender equality”.

The commission’s membership, which will be required to be approved by a majority vote in the new National Assembly, will see at least seven members nominated who will “proportionally represent the spectrum of political parties”.

Other articles in this category or as background
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//bee/women-empowerment-gender-equality-bill/

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Women Empowerment Bill gets new minister

Women Empowerment Bill in the queue….

Under the previous government, the improbable Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill, which contemplates tough laws to enforce gender transformation compliance in the private and public sectors, was virtually bulldozed through the National Assembly (NA) to be implemented as early as 2015. The Bill was promoted by former minister of women, children and people with disabilities, Lulu Xingwana, and looked suspiciously like a last minute attempt to retain her cabinet post.

The Bill now sits for enactment but it may be some time before the new minister of the newly formed ministry of women, Susan Shabangu, who takes over the re-named ministry, gets around to implementing it by regulation should President Zuma add his stamp. The new ministry of women is attached to the President’s office.

Decision making women

Under the new proposed legislation, government departments and private entities will be required to fill a minimum of 50% of all senior and top management positions, described in the Bill as “decision making positions”, with women.

As Parliament closed, the Bill went to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for concurrence, the NCOP running to extended period of a fortnight to allow the passage of some ten Bills to finality and presidential assent before the elections.

Unusually, this particular Bill had been returned to the NA portfolio committee for approval in respect of a couple of minor alterations.   Consequently, the Bill still remains as outstanding business for the President to consider signing.

Limping through

Opposition parties have described the Bill as “unworkable and unachievable” and voted against the Bill in the NA after the Bill had to be introduced twice by the Speaker, the chamber initially failing to form a quorum.   ANC members had to be found to put their hands up.

This Bill, with a number of others, represented a handful of pieces of legislation that were “fast tracked” before closure, ANC party whips using their majority position in the NA.

Resources limited

As far as the practicality of the Bill is concerned, opposition members have repeatedly pointed out that there is neither the labour pool in many industries and sectors to meet such targets as envisaged, either now or in the future, and have queried the fate of male black employees, already under siege in the job market to provide for families.

Nevertheless, minister Xingwana was furiously attached to her objectives after Cabinet’s approval of the Bill, despite a Nedlac rejection.
ANC chief whip, Stone Sizane, issued (unusually for a party whip) a statement following the Bill’s approval by the NA before it went to the NCOP, having so energetically guided the legislative voting.   He said, “The Bill represents a significant turning point in our endeavour to liberate women from all forms of discrimination and oppression.”

“It is firmly in line with the provisions of our constitution and will enforce 50% gender representation, thereby empowering women by ensuring that they participate meaningfully in our economy.”

Criminalization

Sizane concluded, “Unlike the existing legislation on women empowerment and gender equality, which has suffered challenges such as lack of enforcement and implementation, this Bill provides for a fine of about 10% of companies` annual turnover and/or imprisonment for non-compliance.”

The Bill also requires the relevant minister to annually publish a report to recognise those who comply with the Act and name and shame those who do not.”

Other articles in this category or as background
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//bee/women-empowerment-gender-equality-bill/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//bee/women-empowerment-bill-powered/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//bee/employment-equity-act-regulations-cause-shock/

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Fracking regulations to enhance safety

Fracking regulations published for comment….

Fracking_GraphicProposed technical fracking regulations on “Petroleum Exploration and Exploitation” have been published by mineral resources minister, Susan Shabangu, stating that the regulations are sought to ensure safe exploration and production methods.

She said on publication, “The purpose of the draft regulations is to augment gaps identified in the current regulatory framework governing exploration and exploitation of petroleum resources, particularly in relation to hydraulic fracturing and prescribe good international petroleum industry practices and standards that will enhance safe exploration and production of petroleum”.

Protection of water resources

Such technicalities are provisions for the following:   Firstly, an assessment of the potential impact of the proposed activities on the environment must be provided; secondly, there must be provision for the protection of fresh water resources; thirdly the protection of biodiversity, palaeontology and the broader environmental impact must be in line with government objectives and, finally there have to be mechanisms for site-specific buffer zone determination for the co-existence of shale gas exploitation and the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project.

International best practices sought

susan shabangu The mineral resources department stressed, in an earlier statement, that the regulations would ensure that all exploration activities would be “conducted in a socially and environmentally balanced manner”. The gazette in question calls for sound international petroleum industry best practices and standards.

The technical requirements include site assessment, selection and preparation, well design and construction, operations and management; and well suspension and abandonment.

Mid November is given as the date for comments to the department of mineral resources to be concluded.

Refer to articles in this category
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//energy/fueloilrenewables/pasa-ready-fracking-sea-gas/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//energy/fueloilrenewables/fracking-moves-november-says-minister-davies/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//energy/chemical-industries-plan-for-training-skills-in-fracking/

Posted in Energy, Enviro,Water, Fuel,oil,renewables, Trade & Industry0 Comments

Objections to Minerals and Petroleum Resources Bill

Exploration investment threatened……

Roughnecks wrestle pipe on a True Company oil drilling rig outside WatfordProposed changes to the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Bill (MPRDA) were given the “thumbs down” sign by a number of international participants in the oil and gas industry who provided the minister of mineral resources with a solid indication that the amendments to the Bill are not acceptable as they stand if major investment is to be expected or gas exploration encouraged.

Shell SA was largely ambivalent, although calling for greater clarity on a number of issues.

Confrontation was clearly evident from some of the submissions made by members of the oil and gas exploration industry, however, to a number of principles contained in the MPRDA Bill, the most common issues being lack of clarity for investment purposes and objections to the consolidation of the B-BBEE charters for mining and liquid fuels.

Plenty to think about

oil rigWhilst the chairperson of the portfolio committee of mineral resources claimed there were over six hundred pages from the private sector on the subject which the minister of mineral resources already had stated would probably be a contentious matter, a number of exploration companies were quite vociferous in their objections, both in their oral hearings and when it came to questioning from MPs.

At the last minute the submission from PetroSA was withdrawn subsequently explained by the CEO of PetroSA to the portfolio committee on energy as being for reasons of signatures to various confidentiality agreements.

The amendments contained in the Bill are extensive, including proposals to seek to promote beneficiation of resources: extend government ownership into all ventures; place two state officials on the boards of companies to monitor BEE compliance; the combining of both industry BEE charters; the dissolution of the Petroleum Agency of SA (PASA) and to declare “certain minerals” as strategic resources.

Anadarko at sea over Bill

anardarkoAnadarko SA, a subsidiary of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation who stated they were one of the world’s largest independent oil and gas exploration and production companies with over 5,000 employees and were currently in partnership with PetroSA in Mozambique waters, said their primary areas of concern with the MPRD amendments were that they caused total fiscal instability and uncertainty, something they were not used to working with.

They preferred a dedicated regulator to deal with the oil and gas industry who dealt with only that, they said.   On the issue of fiscal stability, their CEO, Emil Ranoszek, stated that the new Bill “lacked robust economic stability provisions to protect the rights and legitimate expectations of existing rights and permit holders going from an exploration right through to a production right”.

Risk at unacceptable levels

Anadarko, he said, was “committed to establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with the South African state and that oil and gas companies and (they) were ready to make significant investments in South Africa but the Bill in its current form disturbed this balance and raised commercial risk to unacceptably high levels”.

Ranoszek noted that PetroSA was a 20% shareholder in the areas where Anadarko already had a license.    Anadarko was one of the few companies in the world, he said, which had the technical knowledge to “draw the water depths” where they were currently working. If the terms, conditions and risks were deemed to be too high and Anadarko decided not to proceed with operations, then the company would relinquish its licenses.

How PetroSA was going to decide to handle such a situation was unknown and he could not speak for them.

Money flowing to communities

When asked how Anadarko was contributing to the job creation situation in Mozambique, Ranoszek replied that this had been both in the form of direct and indirect jobs from services providers and other sourcing companies. The revenue generated was in the billions of dollars, he said, with the result that Anadarko “was literally building small towns along the coast.”

Anadarko was presently funding a programme in a Mozambican University for the study of petroleum engineering “to upscale the locals in terms of petroleum skills and knowledge.”

ExxonMobil says no clarity

Exxon mobileRuss Berkoben, president of ExxonMobil said the amendments would have several adverse consequences for the growth potential of the South African oil and gas industry. There was “much ambiguity as to the State’s intent”, he said.

Clarity was required regarding the concept that the state would be issuing so-called special shares if it exercised an option for an interest and the state’s right to appoint two directors to a management board of a production operation.”  The Bill gave no clarity on how such matters would be applied.

Berkoben said the minister had to recognise the differences between the petroleum industry and the mining sector and it was his opinion was that PASA should be retained as a body, an entity that understood many of the complexities of his industry, some of which he outlined.  The dissolution of PASA was unwise, he suggested, and with no idea of what regulations were intended, the situation regarding investment had become totally fluid.

BEE  and beneficiation a problem for industry

On the issue of the proposed fines for non-BEE compliance, ExxonMobil said that this would further compromise the viability of certain petroleum operations and discourage expenditure on exploration and development work programmes.  On beneficiation requirements Berkoben stated that he could not visualise how these were applicable to the petroleum exploration or gas industry in reality, other than the minister having rights to offer fuel to outlets with different pricing structures downstream.

When asked by MPs if ExxonMobil had consulted at ministerial level on the Bill and its proposals, Berkoben replied that the answer was simply that ExxonMobil had not been consulted as a stakeholder originally regarding the basis of the proposed changes and he felt that they were being imposed on the oil and gas industry. They were unwarranted, he said.

SA may loose opportunity

impact fieldSean Lunn, managing director of Impact Oil and Gas Ltd, told the committee that the company held an exploration right and three technical cooperation permits along the eastern coast of South Africa and prospects so far identified lay in very deep water and a long way offshore, with the Agulhas current which heavily impacted on exploration along the coastline.

He explained that the oil and gas exploration industry was a dynamic, worldwide business and countries were ranked by their “prospectivity” in fiscal terms, resulting in an industry that was willing to take such risks as proposed on South Africa’s East Coast, one of the most dangerous in the world, when it provided the rewards that were commensurate with the risks taken.

Impact was partnering with ExxonMobil, he explained, and the potential benefits for South Africa “were great, not to mention that the country could become self-sufficient in oil and gas.  South Africa was currently considered to have very high geological risk as no major oil or gas fields had yet been found.

If the current process was unable to find a mutually workable solution, the possibilities that existed offshore may, therefore, lie untapped for decades to come and the huge potential benefit to the country could remain unrealised, he concluded.

Perilous uncertainties

A briefing by the Offshore Petroleum Association of South Africa (OPASA) was made by the acting chairperson, Vusumuzi Sihwa, who re-iterated that the oil and gas exploration environment was challenging environment; high risk; had a surprisingly low success rate with a massive capital outlay to explore a hostile offshore environment such as the East Coast of Africa; and with no guarantee of commercial success.

South Africa’s potential resources, coupled with the current legislation, encouraged the industry to take these huge risks but the MPRDA Bill created “perilous uncertainty for the industry” through lack of stability, uncertainty, coupled with added confusion through the disbandment of PASA.

Sihwa said oil and gas companies could simply shift their focus to other global opportunities.  He suggested that a full working group of all stakeholders, not just some, be convened before the President signed the Bill and the group engage meaningfully and in good faith to reach a mutually agreeable way forward.

OPASA recommended that an upstream petroleum regulator be retained as one unit in one location.

Changing playing fields

Under questioning, the company said existing regulations and the operating environment were very favourable, which was why almost all the prospecting blocks were taken up. The current amendments had brought an element of uncertainty to the table; “the rug was being pulled from under the feet of the industry and this was now a worry, especially whilst projects were in process.” Companies had come into South Africa in terms of a set of rules which were now being decisively altered, he said.

With regard to the liquid fuels charter, OPSA complained that they have never been part of any matters involving mining charters and it was incorrect to impose regulations historically from one industry upon another industry.

Unintended consequences of Bill

sasolIn a separate presentation, Sasol, represented by Johan Thyse, said that Sasol was different to many in the oil and gas industry as it was present throughout the value chain. Consequently government policy and regulation affected the company extensively. Thyse warned the chairperson that the Bill, as it stood, would have serious unintended consequences for both industries.

He said the proposals if left unchallenged would severely affect Sasol’s ability to execute its strategy in South Africa and play its role in the National Growth Path and in the National Development Plan.

Sasol commented in detail on issues surrounding free carried interest and also the mining charter as compared with the liquid fuels charter; the concept of “concentration of rights” which they were highly critical of; the transfer of petroleum licencing; what was referred to in the Bill as regional regulators; the disbandment of PASA and beneficiation as it affected Sasol.

Environmental off beam

They were particularly and deeply concerned regard environmental management issues proposed and the authorisation of issues surrounding increasing the extent of a mining rights through amendments; the removal of prescribed time-frames on many issues and the matter of redefinition of strategic minerals and any consequent effect upon on exports.

Under questioning Sasol said there was total lack of clarity on many issues. Coal for example did not follow cadastral boundaries on the issue of rights as did maritime resources and there was confusion on beneficiation targets and time-frames as to whom and what it applied to.

When asked whether the Bill, with its uncertainties and bearing in mind Sasol’s stakeholders and shareholders, would make it easier or harder to operate in South Africa Thyse replied that “due to the lack of clarity on investment in the Bill, Sasol certainly would re-look at how and where it would invest.”

Investment climate threatened

shellJan W Eggink, Upstream General Manager, Shell SA, said their primary concern where matters equity ownership provisions in the mining charter and how this would the affect investment climate. He said that his company fully supported government’s B-BBEE agenda and matters related to a state interest in the petroleum and mining industry but he needed clarity on whether mining, offshore gas exploration on BEE issues could possibly be combined under one set of rules in view of their disparity.

Under questioning, Egglink called for “more constructive engagement with government” on the combining of matters affecting both the mining and onshore gas industry”.  His overall opinion was that it was difficult to say much on the MPRDA without any knowledge of how any regulations might work.

It was after the Shell presentation, that it was announced by the chair that the PetroSA submission had been withdrawn although the absence from the hearings had been noticeable.

Refer previous articles in this category
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//bee/mprda-bill-causes-contention-parliament/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//uncategorized/mineral-and-petroleum-development-bill-grabs-resources/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//energy/draft-mprda-bill-for-comment/

Posted in BEE, Energy, Enviro,Water, Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn, Trade & Industry0 Comments

Hanekom to protect SKA win from fracking fallout

Protecting the Square Kilometre Array

In answer to a parliamentary question on the subject, the new minister of science and technology Derek Hanekom has confirmed that a report is to be undertaken by the department of science and technology and the SKA project team on any possible negative effects of shale gas fracking in the Karoo.

Mineral resources minister, Susan Shabangu, earlier told the media in a press media meeting that government “will approach fracking in the Karoo in a sensitive and responsible manner”.    At this meeting she made public to all the report on investigation of hydraulic fracturing or fracking in the Karoo.

Minister Hanekom’s recent response to MPs questions stated that findings of the research will focus on any negative impacts during the exploration phase and will also be used to inform measures to be put in place “for the exploitation phase.”

Posted in Cabinet,Presidential, Energy, Fuel,oil,renewables, Land,Agriculture, Public utilities, Uncategorized0 Comments

Fracking report complete but Minister ponders on result

Minister Susan Shabangu told Parliament during her Budget vote speech said that department of mineral resources (DMR) had already completed its report on the feasibility of shale gas exploration in South Africa. It remained with the department at this stage.

Earlier, various ministers had confirmed that the report on proposals from Shell Petroleum is expected to be with cabinet only in late July.

In a press meeting before she addressed the National Assembly, minister Shabangu said the controversy surrounding the process of fracking was one of the key reasons for the current delay in the passing of the report onwards and how DMR and the department of energy (DME) should position themselves with the results.

She reminded her audience that the proposals at this stage were only to proceed with fracking at exploration level.

Posted in Cabinet,Presidential, Energy, Finance, economic, Fuel,oil,renewables, Labour, Land,Agriculture, Public utilities, Trade & Industry0 Comments


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