Members of Parliament have an important role to play in advancing the governance of natural resources that South Africa is endowed with, says Communications Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.
Speaking at a colloquium on the sidelines of the Mining Indaba currently underway in Cape Town, Minister Kubayi-Ngubane said it is common knowledge that the African continent is rich in natural resources and that the management of these resources is crucial for economic development.
“Ultimately the issue of resource management is about economic development. In this regard our vast resources are a source of hope. This is because resource management speaks to the important issue of how we can better use our natural resources in a way that will result in a better life for all our people,” said the Minister on Tuesday.
Parliamentarians, she said, have two important roles to play when coming to resource management to ensure that these resources benefit all of the country’s people.
“Firstly, they can enact policies that are people centred when it comes to resource management. This means that they can enact policies that ensure that the benefits drawn from our resources are not misused. In addition, the policies have to ensure equitable distribution of the income from our resources.
“Secondly, they can strengthen Parliament as an institution to ensure that it exercises its oversight role effectively,” she said.
In addition, parliamentarians need to ensure that government and public officials use their powers and available resources appropriately, lawfully and in ways that respond to the needs and interests of people.
“In doing this, Parliament can enhance public confidence in the integrity of the government’s activities, which encourages all societal groups to accept the policies emanating from the executive branch, rather than resorting to violent conflict.”
Minister Kubayi-Ngubane said parliamentarians can also play an influential role in advancing natural resource governance by ensuring that there is transparency of extraction contracts.
Parliamentarians can also exercise oversight on compliance with rules specified by contracts and laws, as well as ensuring that government agencies charged with the responsibility of managing the resources are held accountable, among others.
The indaba will conclude on Thursday.
CAPTION:Minister of Communication Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane