The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy has welcomed a commitment by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) to address the licence application backlog at regional offices in all the provinces. The turnaround plan has started in Mpumalanga.
The Chairperson of the committee, Mr Sahlulele Luzipo, said: “The committee expects to see those commitments included in the 2021/22 Annual Performance Plan and budget estimates of the departments.”
Currently, the department has 4 647 application backlogs on the three licensing categories, namely mining permits, mining rights and permit rights. The Mpumalanga regional office alone account for 1 869 backlogs, followed by Limpopo with 1 054.
The committee has allowed the department three months to implement the backlog turnaround plan and report on the progress made thereafter. The plan entails, among other things, focusing on one province at a time in order to cut the normal licence processing period by half.
Mr Luzipo said the department should not only focus on processing applications faster, but it should also ensure that the online application process is easy in order to increase investment opportunities in the mining sector.
The committee raised concerns regarding the challenges posed by the South African Mineral Resources Administration’s (SAMRAD’s) online application system, and it gave the department six months to present an improved plan.
“Your improved plan should be able to point out problem areas and outline measures taken so that we can be comforted that the errors will not reoccur,” said Mr Luzipo.