August 20, 2019

The Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) and many civil society actors were disappointed and dismayed to hear that Gwede Mantashe was awarded the newly combined Mineral Resources and Energy Ministry.

This is the story of one pig farm, located on the Cape west coast, which was allocated jointly to two recipients, a Mr Cloete and a Mr Sibeko. We know nothing more about them, other than that they soon fell out, at which point the then Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) procured a different plot, which was duly allocated to Mr Cloete. Enter a Ms Ngxumeshe with an alleged claim to that land, and apparently with a lease to support it. It gets even more complicated from this point.

Lost in all the fuss about the political party (read ANC) candidates lists ‑ and who did and who did not make it, and who’s in and who’s out ‑ is an obvious but not yet asked question: why would anybody want to be elected to the sixth parliament? The fifth parliament rose in March this year leaving a lot of unfinished business, much of which will be inherited by those who next take up the seats in the Chambers.

The fifth parliament has been a parliament of firsts. It was the first time bloody noses were seen in the chamber, the first time the riot police were called into the house, the first time members were manhandled and thrown out by security staff. Remember when parliament used to be boring?

The troublesome contest between surface versus mineral rights lies at the very heart of the complex issues raised in the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources’ report on the recommendations of the High Level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change, published in Parliament in March.

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Notes from the House is an independent online publication that tracks and monitors Parliament’s role in fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities to improve the lives of South African citizens. Published by Moira Levy with the support of the Claude Leon Foundation.

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