The Mpumalanga Province in particular the Highveld area, contribute significant amount of pollution in South Africa. Communities have been bearing the brunt of coal mines that are just situated next to their houses. There are coal waste dump that causes air pollution, dust and water pollution arises from mine and waste dumps. The Highveld was declared as “The Highveld Priority Area (HPA)” by the Minister of Environmental Affairs on 23 November 2007 under the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act (AQA). The declaration necessitated the development of an Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP) for the area, with the Department of Environmental Affairs as the lead agent. Major towns within the Highveld Priority Area include Witbank, Middelburg, Secunda, Emerlo, Delmas, Ogies, Arbor and many others.We managed to set up monitoring school in Mpumalanga. The aim is help communities in Mpumalanga to improve, and then monitor and manage, the kinds of environmental conditions in communities that might impact on the health of the people and other things. We manage to meet with the group called Greatermiddleburg Forum , Middleburg Environmental Justice Network, Schoogezicht, Youth for Climate Change Group. Caroline Ntaopane and Meshack Mbangula received a warm welcome by Highveld communities. We meet briefly with Rev Shabangu and we talked about having another meeting to introduce Benchmarks Foundation and Church Leaders Call.
The first session of the workshop took place on the 19th and 20TH July 2012. The main aim of the programme was to introduce monitoring school to communities groups in Highveld and understand how the organisation works and what are the issues .
There were 13 participants from Witbank, Arbor, Middleburg and Breyten, apologies from Delmas and Emerlo.
Content of the Programme:
What is monitoring school and its interntions, Introduction to Free Writing , Time – line, understanding the History of the areas where monitors are coming from.
We has a also had a very interesting discussion on how to build a groups and and be a good monitor the following we meantioned:
– A monitor must understand and know their areas
– The first point was that in building the group, people need to be invloved in all that is to be done.
– Include all groups – families, localities, old people,young people, men and women, church, sport and schools
– Be open and share information
– Inform people of what is happening always
– A monotor must be able to listen carefully to what people are saying-Accept people as they are, not as they should be.