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KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER FOR NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY; JABULILE MASHWAMA SENATOR,

ON THE OCCASION OF THE

TRAINING WORKSHOP ON THE

SOUTHERN AFRICA RESOURCE BAROMETER (SARB) ON

29th FEBRUARY AND 1st MARCH, 2016,

ROYAL SWAZI SUN HOTEL, EZULWINI, SWAZILAND.

  • SENATOR PRESIDENT MADAM GELANE ZWANE
  • SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
  • YOUR EXCELLENCY SECRETARY GENERAL SADC PF DR. ESAU CHIVIYA,
  • HONOURABLE MINISTERS,
  • ATTORNEY GENERAL,
  • HONOURABLE MEMBERS OF BOTH HOUSES PARLIAMENT,
  • DIGNITARIES FROM SOUTHERN AFRICAN RESOURCE WATCH,
  • ESTEEMED RESOURCE PERSONS,
  • SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM SECRETARIAT,
  • DISTINGUISHED GUESTS AND
  • ORGANISERS OF THE TRAINING WORKSHOP ON THE SOUTHERN AFRICA RESOURCE BAROMETER.

Sanibonani, a very good morning. On behalf of the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland, it is my singular honour to greet you all and extend a warm welcome to the Kingdom of Eswatini to those who come from outside our borders.

I proudly recognise and welcome Your Excellency Secretary General SADC Parliamentary Forum; Dr. Esau Chiviya and the Kingdom of Swaziland graciously welcome you and wish you a pleasant stay.

Mr. Secretary General may I inform you that our Constitution pronounces that all minerals and mineral oils in, under or upon any land in Swaziland vest in iNgwenyama in trust for the Swazi Nation. The Constitution also provides that in the interests of the present and future generations, the State shall protect and make rational use of its mineral resources and shall take appropriate measures to conserve and improve the environment.

In the context of the Constitution, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy undertook to formulate a National Mining Policy (NMP) within the framework of the National Development Strategy (NDS) enunciated by the Government of the Kingdom Swaziland in August, 1999, the Constitution of Swaziland and the provisions of the Southern Africa Development Community Protocol on Mining among other initiatives.

Mr. Secretary General; the purpose of the National Mining Policy is to declare the principles under which the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland manages the minerals’ resources endowment for the benefit of the people of Swaziland and to set out the basis upon which investment by mining companies in mineral exploration and extraction will take place. The National Development Strategy sets goals for economic growth and diversification leading to attainment of higher-middle income country status and an improvement in the standard and quality of life of all Swazi people.

The National Mining Policy declares that in order to diversify the sources of economic development in the country Government wishes to foster development of a thriving mining industry that will contribute to sustainable economic development. Government recognises the positive contribution that mining can make as an engine for the economic development of Swaziland by diversifying the export base, widening the tax base, generating skilled employment, creating demand for local goods and services, contributing to infrastructure development, producing raw materials for local usage and acting as a catalyst for wider investment in the economy.

Mr. Secretary General; I am cognisant of the collaborative approach between the Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) and the Southern African Development Community-Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) to produce the Southern Africa Resource Barometer (SARB) as part of their contribution to already existing efforts to promote better management of natural resources for the benefit of all SADC citizens.

I am also equally aware of several approaches that are being pursued at the national level in a number of countries, such as the renegotiation of contracts with private companies, value added strategies, policies to favour reinvestment of revenues from commodities into the local economy, and debates about various ownership models, including the creation of state mining companies.

It is also common knowledge that at the regional level, efforts by the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to harmonise mining policies such as the SADC Mining Policy are at an advanced stage. Meanwhile, at the continental level, the endorsement of the African Union Mining Vision (AMV) and its plan of action by Heads of State and Government are intended to reverse the trend whereby Africa produces minerals but its people do not benefit as substantially as they should.

Accordingly, this SARB is a critical support instrument to the AMV and the SADC Mining Policy. The Resource Barometer principles are designed to assist key stakeholders, particularly Parliaments in Southern Africa, to effectively discharge their oversight of the extractive industries with the aim of ensuring that minerals benefit all citizens. The principles are informed by SADC countries’ national legislations and regulations, international best practices and conventions, and inputs from practitioners.

The overall objective of the training workshop is to critically review extractive industries in Southern Africa and today in particular in Swaziland in order to identify issues pertaining to raising parliamentary awareness and building capacity in providing effective oversight of the Extractive Sector. Among other issues, the workshop shall deal with:-

  • Issues of managing mineral resources as well benefits thereof.
  • The need to put best administrative structures to ensure accountability in the implementation of best practices.
  • The importance of the analysis of the mineral value chain in the management by regulators.
  • Recognising and citing key issues to be accounted for by investors’ namely environmental, social and economic matters.
  • Legislative frameworks, observance and embracing of national development strategies or initiatives to ensure best management practices as applied in Swaziland.
  • The present and future outlook of Swaziland in the international agenda in as far as sustainable economic and social development of the extractive industry.

His Majesty King Mswati III in the 2016 Speech from the Throne emphasized that there is a lot of work that lies ahead in developing the mining and quarrying sector particularly on downstream development of our minerals. His Majesty emphasized the need for the Government to ensure that the Nation gets maximum benefit from processing zones for value addition of our minerals and job creation as soon as possible, guided by an appropriate policy and legislation that will safeguard the national interest and prevent export of our raw minerals. The command is explicit and calls for undivided attention by all of us henceforth.

We all know that minerals are strategic for any country. They are finite, non-renewable and a major source of revenue for development. The management of these precious resources and their optimal and economical use are matters of national importance and interest as clearly articulated by His Majesty.

This training workshop has come at an appropriate time for our Honourable Parliamentarians. Parliaments are particularly important because of their oversight role on budgets, their management of the legislative process, and their capacity to facilitate public engagement with civil society organisations and communities. This barometer will be critical as it will support the creation of knowledge-based Parliaments and influence regional thinking around and interpretation of trends in the extractive industries.

The Mines and Minerals Act No. 4 of 2011 and the Diamond Act No. 3 of 2011 are first products of the National Mining Policy. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy has continued on the legislative reform exercise for the mines and minerals sector through assistance from the Commonwealth Secretariat. A portion of the output of the legislative review exercise will be a specific policy and legislation that will guide the extraction of minerals and creation of value chain addition industries linked to the raw minerals that are from our country. The ultimate goal of the legislative review reforms is to offer competitive and comparative environment as influenced by His Majesty Vision 2022 for the Kingdom to attain First World Status, the Ministry Strategic Plan 2014 – 2018 which sets out strategic objectives in order to achieve Vision 2022 and the Africa Mining Vision to mention a few Initiatives. Government is gracious that His Majesty has launched the Lufafa Gold Mine which is a huge milestone in the rebirth of the nation’s gold mining activity after over hundred years.

I am grateful to the Esteemed Resource Persons of this Workshop who will make relevant and aspiring presentations about Swaziland on the topics of Natural Resources Management and articulate the provisions of the Southern Africa Resource Barometer (SARB) as they apply to us.

Therefore, I look forward to very fruitful and interactive discussions and recommendations that will be innovative, responding to His Majesty’s petition that the Nation must benefit from local value addition of our minerals and create jobs for the people as soon as possible.

In conclusion I wish to thank the SADC Parliamentary Forum and Southern African Resource Watch for sponsoring this workshop which will capacitate us. I would like to commend the organisers for doing such a remarkable job in putting together this Training Workshop – you do indeed make us proud.

With these few remarks it now gives me the greatest pleasure to declare that the Training Workshop on the Southern Africa Resource Barometer (SARB) officially opened.

May our Almighty God Bless Us All.

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