Mnangagwa rejects Mines and Mineral Amendment Bill

President Emmerson Mnangagwa
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The Mines and Mineral Amendment Bill, which sailed through Parliament early this year, is set to be re-tabled after President Mnangagwa declined to give his assent and referred it back to the Legislature.

The Head of State and Government expressed reservations on some of the sections of the Bill which he felt violated the Constitution.

Parliament is now expected to consider the reservations expressed by the President.

Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda confirmed the referral of the Bill, but declined to give reasons cited by the President.

“The President, in exercising his powers, referred back to Parliament the Bill,” he said.

“The Bill is now expected to be re-tabled.

“There are processes to be followed in such circumstances when a Bill has been referred back to Parliament.”

Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda is expected to officially notify the House of the referral of the Bill.

A source close the developments said President Mnangagwa expressed reservations on some of the clauses in the Bill, which he felt might violate property rights.

“The President did not condemn the entire Bill,” said the source.

“He has some provisions of the Bill which he felt needed a re-look by Parliament. One of it includes a clause that confer rights on a miner ahead of a farmer where a mineral would have been found on agricultural land.

“The Bill takes precedence. The view was that such a clause might violate property rights and in so doing discourage investment.

“The Bill now stands referred to Parliament in terms of Section 131 of the Constitution.”

Section 131 (6) of the Constitution provides as follows: “When a Bill is presented to the President for assent and signature, he or she must, within twenty-one days, either:

(a) assent to it and sign it, and then cause it to be published in Gazette without delay; or

(b) if he or she considers it to be unconstitutional or has any other reservations about it, refer the Bill back to Parliament through the Clerk of Parliament, together with detailed written reasons for those reservations and a request that the Bill be reconsidered.”

The subsequent subsection provides for procedure to be followed when a Bill has been referred back to Parliament.

Section 131 (7) provides as follows: “Where a Bill has been referred back to Parliament in terms of Subsection (6)(b), the Speaker must without delay convene a sitting of the National Assembly, which must (a) reconsider the Bill and fully accommodate the President’s reservations; or (b) pass the Bill, with or without amendments by a two-thirds majority of the total membership of the National Assembly; and in either case the Speaker must cause the Bill to be presented to the President without delay for assent and signature and must give public notice of the date on which the Bill was sent to the President.”

The Constitution goes on to provide what the President is obliged to do if not happy with the retention of the Bill in the form in which he had referred it back to Parliament.

Section 131 (8) provides as follows: “If a Bill that has been presented to the President in terms of Subsection (7) fully accommodates the President’s reservations, the President must assent to the Bill and sign it within twenty-one days and then cause it to be published in the Gazette without delay, but if the President still has reservations about the Bill, he or she must within that period either  (a) assent to the Bill and sign it, despite those reservations; or (b) refer the Bill to the Constitutional Court for advice on its constitutionality.”