26 November 2013, Johannesburg – Johannesburg — The South African government is attracting criticism by refusing to join 31 other countries in signing up to an international standard aimed at ensuring transparency in the oil, gas and mining industries.
South Africa’s parliament has dismissed adopting the standard, known as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which outlines reporting requirements aimed at ensuring that resource extraction leads to economic growth and social development rather than “corruption and conflict.”
The EITI was introduced ten years ago by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, but 25 of the 31 member countries are in Africa. Countries such as Ghana, Zambia, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are all compliant members.
They submit annual reports, disclosing what mines and other extractive companies pay to governments, and what governments in turn receive through contracts and by way of relevant tax.
The practice, says the EITI, “allows citizens to see for themselves how much their government is receiving from their country’s natural resources.”
Norway – often viewed as an emblem of transparency – has also committed to the initiative. The US has pledged to adopt it and British Prime Minister David Cameron recently said he was considering following suit.
It was most recently revised in May this year, with the changes aimed at improving its relevance and reliability.
But South Africa has resisted calls to come on board.
“No, South Africa has not reconsidered signing up,” Ayanda Shezi, spokesperson for the Department of Mineral Resources, told the Mail & Guardian.