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Department of Mineral Resources says solution to IT issues that caused delay in June mining data ‘imminent’

(Photo: Unsplash / Shane McLendon)

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy said on Wednesday that the almost five-week delay in its delivery of June mining data to Statistics South Africa is attributable to ‘ageing infrastructure’, but a solution is ‘imminent’.

The June mining production and sales data were not published as scheduled by Stats SA on 12 August because the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy failed to deliver the goods on time. The June numbers, as well as July’s, were finally sent to Stats SA over the weekend — just in time for the June figures to be included in the second-quarter GDP data — after Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke and department Director-General Thabo Mokoena intervened to get the ball rolling. (See our coverage here and here

The June and July mining numbers will be published next week by Stats SA. 

On Wednesday, the department said in response to Business Maverick queries sent last week about the issue that: “The [department] can confirm that it has since June 2021 experienced technical challenges relating to Information Technology (IT) due to the ageing infrastructure. This has regretfully negatively affected the performance of the Department.

“Stakeholders have since been informed of these challenges and assured that the Department is attending to these challenges. A solution in this regard is imminent… We do not foresee any future challenges in this regard.” 

It will be interesting to see what solution is found. In the wake of the Digital Vibes scandal that has engulfed the Department of Health, IT procurements will be monitored very closely. It does appear that the tender to replace the department’s dysfunctional mining rights application system includes a remit to overhaul its IT apparatus, but that is probably not imminent. Has the existing provider updated what appear to be antiquated systems? Business Maverick has sent follow-up questions in this regard to the department.

Meanwhile, one hopes that the August data — which should be sent to Stats SA by the end of this month for publication mid-October — will be delivered without a hitch. The data are crucial for markets, investors, economists and the industry. It is also a fairly basic task. If the department starts failing on this front, then it can hardly be expected to get the big things right. DM/BM

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