Mining, energy ministry to split

The Minister of Minerals and Energy Affairs Buyelwa Sonjica expects her department to be split into two separate ministries if the African National Congress wins the coming election, she said on Tuesday.

Sonjica said both energy and minerals were vital to the country’s economy and having two separate ministries would allow more time and energy to be devoted to each.

“If the ANC wins, I’m sure it will split into two ministries,” she said on the sidelines of a mining conference.

“Both energy and minerals are very complex ... it makes sense if the two very important sectors of the economy would be given seperate focus; it can only improve performance,” Sonjica said.

Last year South Africa battled a power shortage that forced the country’s mines to shut for five days and cost the economy billions of dollars. The minister said the separation could especially help tackle such crisis.

Mining sources told Reuters the new energy ministry would be be responsible for implementing a clear energy strategy, while the mines ministry will have more scope to tackle issues still unresolved many years after the 1994 Mining Charter.

These will include ensuring a genuine transfer of more control of the mining industry and the export of mined commodities to black management and ownership, the sources said.

The election is likely to be in April and a date is due to be announced next week.
- Reuters

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