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Monday, 20 November 2023 10:05

Cabinet approves R2.1bn to fight illegal mining and organised crime.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Cabinet has approved the allocation of R2.1-billion in the criminal asset recovery account to provide aid in the fight against illegal mining and other organised crimes.

"Illicit mining and organised crime continue to be a threat to the South African economy," Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said during a post-Cabinet media briefing in Pretoria on November 20.

The funds have been allocated to the South African Police Service (Saps), the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), the Department of Home Affairs, the Border Management Agency and the Government Communication and Information System.

Ntshavheni said the Saps would use the funds to buy additional vehicles, helicopters and nyalas, as well as to deploy more than 400 additional officers over 18 months.

"Illegal mining and other organised crimes cost South Africa billions of rands each year and it affects our position as an investment destination," she said.

In addition, Cabinet welcomed the deployment of 3 300 members of the SANDF from October 28 until April 28, 2024, to support the Saps and other law enforcement agencies to deal with illegal mining in the country.  

"This deployment affirms government's commitment to put an end to illegal mining and create conditions for inclusive growth and transformation of the economy," Ntshavenhi said.  

She said the Ministers of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cabinet Cluster had provided progress reports on the work under way in the fight against crime, in particular, organised crime and illegal mining.

Just Energy Transition Implementation Plan

Cabinet has approved the Just Energy Transition Implementation Plan (JET IP), which will guide South Africa’s transition to a low carbon economy through the scaling up of renewable energy sources.  

The JET IP sets out a number of interventions South Africa needs and investments required for the country to transition to a low carbon and climate resilient economy in line with the National Determined Contributions presented to the United Nations. 

Ntshavheni said on Monday Cabinet is of the view that the JET IP demonstrates South Africa’s commitment to a just transition in line with the country's energy needs. 

She said the JET IP will be driven by a combination of reforms in the energy sector, including the Mpumalanga Just Transition, new energy vehicles and green hydrogen, among others.

"The plan further responds to South Africa's commitments under the Paris Agreement and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as well as NDP [National Development Plan] commitments.

"The Jet IP will enable South Africa to gradually meet its carbon emissions reduction commitments while at same time, it will ensure inclusive economic growth, energy security and employment," Ntshavheni said. 

Criminal Assets Recovery Account

Cabinet has also approved the use of monies in the Criminal Asset Recovery Account to fight against illegal mining and other crimes. 

Ntshavheni said R2 172 359 is allocated to fight illicit mining which continues to be a threat to the South African economy.  

"The money is allocated to the SAPS [South African Police Service], SANDF [South African National Defence Force], Department of Home Affairs and Border Management Agency. The SAPS will use the funding to buy vehicles, helicopters, nyalas and will deploy more than 4000 officers for 18 months," Ntshavheni explained.

Illegal mining and other organised crimes cost South Africa billions of rands each year and it affects the country’s position as an investment destination, the Minister said.

National Petroleum Company Bill

Cabinet has also approved the publication of the South African National Petroleum Company (SANPC) Bill for public comment. 

The Bill gives effect to the Cabinet decision to merge PetroSA, South African Gas Development Company (iGas) and the Strategic Fuel Fund.

Ntshavheni noted that the Bill makes provisions for the establishment of a state-owned company that will ensure South Africa participates meaningfully in oil and gas development. 

"It will also guarantee the country's security of energy supply to support economic development and growth. The SANPC will oversee strategic planning, coordination and governance of the country’s petroleum resources and this will contribute to development and job creation," the Minister explained.

Rand manipulation

Ntshavheni says there must be consequences for dollar-rand exchange manipulation by local and international banks, reported last week by the Competition Commission, calling the act of currency manipulation an attempt at collapsing the economy.

"We have maintained over the period that the performance of the rand and sometimes the performance of the economy has been manipulated by the private sector, which has no interest in the development of this country, which continues to engineer and do machination to make sure that the government collapses," she said.

"That's why they also saw fit in the narrative that there is a collapsing state and a collapsing economy. Because that is what they wish for and their actions do that. But despite those efforts, the South African economy continues to be resilient."

Ntshavheni was briefing reporters in Pretoria on Monday regarding the outcomes of a cabinet meeting which took place last week. The briefing comes after Standard Chartered came clean on its role in currency manipulation, agreeing to pay a R42.7m penalty.

Ntshavheni welcomed reports that Standard Chartered has agreed to testify against other banks involved in the currency manipulation, but said the matter cannot be left unaddressed.

Watch Live in the video below.

Video Courtesy of GCIS.