Over the years we have seen how the mines are destroying our land our air our water.
We had a very developed system of boreholes which the community built for their own supply of water. Since mining, our boreholes dried up. The little water available was also salty.
When we raised this with Impala over ten years ago, Impala denied that they were responsible for our boreholes drying up or turning salty. However they agreed to bear the costs of our water consumption. But they did not keep this promise. Now the Royal Bafokeng has asked residents to pay for water. Most people in the community have refused to pay as we felt that the mine should pay.
Rehabilitation of Open Casts.
There are several open casts which are no longer used for mining. These have not been properly habilitated.
The dump sites have always been a danger to the community. These dump sites contain bits of coal and wood. This attracted member of the community and particularly children. But the sites also had medical refuse, chemicals and un-exploded explosives. One of our committee member lost a finger in this dump site.
Because of our pressure, Impala covered up this dump with soil. They said that they will monitor the site to see whether it affected the ground water. At our meetings a lady appointed by Impala would give us reports but she refused to hand over any written documents on her studies.
During the winter our sky turns white. On top of the roofs, on the sides of our houses, on the leaves of trees and on the stoeps , in the houses, on the table cloth and furniture , there was this white sand. You could not enjoy any leisure outside of your house because of this white sand.
This white sand comes from the tailings dam.
At certain times of the day when they burnt in the smelters you can feel the sensations in your nose when the sky is covered by the blues smoke from the long chimney, from the smelter.
Impala through their consultant investigated the cracks in our houses. The consultant issued a report acknowledging that damages were caused by explosions. But he quickly issued another report saying that the company was not responsible. Up to today, Impala insists that the large number of cracks in houses in Luka is due to poor architecture and not blasting.
Man made streams:
Impala has build a man made stream from the minerals processing plant to the damn and river. Our cows drink this water. Many have become sick and some have died. We do not have the resources to prove this through scientific testing.
The “Sleeping out policy” of the mine and the ending of the hostel system mean that many mine workers are living in backyards of Luka residents. This has lead to overloading of all community facilities such as transport and the clinic. We did a check and found that the following overloading in our clinic: In 2005 a total of 15 294 patients attended the clinic. This figure rose every year ( 35293 in 2008 ; 39579 in 2009 and to 46 803 in 2010. This increase is not from original residents as their numbers have not increased. It is due to contract workers and the families of mine workers who are not covered by the mines. The numbers of patients have increased but the staff and facilities of the mine have stayed the same.