Mining communities threaten to shutdown mines across the country

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By Dimakatso Modipa

MACUA members are threatening to shut down mines across South Africa if their demands are not meet.

More than 500 MACUA members protest at the offices of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.

Their peaceful march started at Jubille Park in Sunnyside and headed to department of Mineral resources and energy.

Members of the Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA) staged a protest march at the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy today, Thursday.

This was a way of reminding the department about its failure to respond to their demands and memorandums which they have been submitting to the department since 2014.

They are demanding government to consult them as the mining communities before they give out mining licensing to Mines Company and to be included in all mining decision affecting their respective communities.

They accused the mines of making billions of rands while the communities are suffering.

National coordinator of MACUA Meshack Mbangula after reading the memorandum he tore the memorandum into pieces and threw it on the floor.

The mining affected communities were joined by APC President Themba Godi, SAFTU members, (YAMUA) Youth affected by mining united in Africa and (WAMUA) Women affected by mining united in Africa.

MACUA is an organisation that represents all communities that are negatively affected by mining activities in South Africa.

Speaking to National coordinator of MACUA Meshack Mbangula told the Tshwane Talks that the portfolio committee on minerals is doing what they call “public consultation” through a mimic of a process where they transport their own members into the venue to accept a bill they do not even understand while the majority of the people remain absent and rejected.

We have been submitting memorandums from 2014 to the department without any action coming from them.
“Giving them the memorandum would be useless.

It is better to rip it off and throw it at them.

If they really want to read our memorandum, they will refer to the many memorandums that we have been submitting to them over the years,” said Mbangula.

He said MACUA is a radical organisation that will resort to closing down all the mines in South Africa.

There are issues of consultation, and the communities are getting surprised because they wake up in the
morning and there are mine next door and there was no consultation done.

We had been marching all these years to Parliament, Union Buildings and the department of minerals resources and energy hoping that they would listen to us, and they would come to the table and talk but our plead fell on deaf ear.

“We are prepared to go to jail or die and we know that there are consequences for our actions and when a person enters in the mining communities there is a smell of poverty,” he said.

Mbangula said mining communities are suffering and their living condition is bad.

The mining companies are not hiring locals, but they are giving out jobs to people who don’t live in mining.

The mines are here to makes money, destroyed our land and leave us with disease and go back to their country.

We are calling on government to act and take us seriously. The mining companies are not abiding by the social labour plans.

He said they just mine, make profit and leave.

“We have minerals in our communities but when you go to our areas there are no roads, we live in shacks, we are unemployed and mining companies employ people from outside our communities,” he said.

MACUA is an organisation that represents all communities that are negatively affected by mining activities in South Africa.

African Peoples Convention (APC) president Themba Godi, his political party attended the protest march to support communities that are affected by mining activities.

“This protest march started with a two-day summit where it was decided that a memorandum of grievances must be submitted to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy,” said Godi.

There are mining operations going on in the communities where these people live but there are no benefits which flow into their communities,” explained Godi.

Monica Ngcobo from Kuruman in the Northern Cape said they have 36 mining companies which don’t consult them at all when making decisions.

“We want women to be allowed to work in the mines. We want recreational facilities in our communities. We want Matric learners to be taught mining skills at schools,” said Ngcobo.

Ngcobo also complained about the fact that mining companies only consult tribal leaders in their communities and pay them bribes so as to get permission to do mining in their areas.

Mineral and Petroleum Regulation Siyabonga Vezi said we have engaged with them, and we continually engaged with them in particular in September last year.

We had a summit to review our legislation and they were also invited to be part of the summit with all other stakeholders.

They are not being ignored at all and that is far from the truth.

“There is nothing I can do now I was mandated by the department to receive the memorandum they did not want to give me the memorandum.

I will just give back the message because I heard what they say but there is no memorandum to response to and its one of those things,” Vezi said.

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