Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu has scored a ‘D’ grade in the Mail & Guardian‘s yearly Cabinet report card. The newspaper defines this ranking as: ‘Get your act together’.

The Cabinet report card is an assessment of the performance of the Cabinet following nearly a full term in office of President Jacob Zuma.

Minister Shabangu scored the same grade in 2012, with the M&G stating that she had attracted “high hopes” with her initial appointment to the mineral resources portfolio.

“But this promise was not delivered on,” argues the weekly. It points to the “many headaches” still caused by the South African Mineral Resources Administration System (Samrad) in the processing of mining licences.

While transformation of the mining industry is still seen as being “imperative”, the M&G laments the “sorry saga” of the Gold Fields black economic empowerment deal.

The M&G states that this “has not allayed fears that empowerment remains a tool for political jockeying and the enrichment of an elite few.”

“Uncertainty” still prevails in the mining industry in terms of nationalisation, “aggravated by [Minister] Shabangu’s threat to ‘review’ Anglo American’s entire portfolio of mining rights…”

The M&G argues that the proposed amendments to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment (MPRDA) Bill will cause “more harm than good if passed in its current form”.

Next year will be a “major milestone” in the reassessment of the MPRDA Bill, Minister Shabangu said at the Chamber of Mines AGM on 5 November 2013 at the Johannesburg Country Club.

“The Department has commenced with its process in assessing industry performance in this regard. I would like to request the Chamber to cooperate in the process for which the country is eagerly awaiting the outcome,” said Minister Shabangu.

The M&G assessment concludes: “The Marikana crisis – a perfect storm of failings by both the government and the mining industry – cannot be laid at her feet, but she has not been seen to lead efforts to address problems in the industry. Indeed, this year has been marked instead by the growing trust deficit between the industry and the government.”

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