Community Alerts/Lorraine Kakaza/09 June 2017

On the 8th June I was in Grootvlei farm conducting a survey, when I got to the households I felt like crying as its difficult to see people living in such bad conditions while they surrounded by mines.

When I ask about the mines the honest people were telling the story of mining industries and their behaviour. Mam Nkambule related her story to the mine that operated there from 1990 -1991 but the mine didn’t operate for long as it was operating without the water use licence and there was no health and safety representatives that leads to 2 mine workers death and that resulted in mine to be closure, but they can’t remember the name of the mine now.

MamNkambule explained that she grew up in the farm her parents used to work for the farmer named Hans he then passed away after he passed away all the farm workers took over. As time passed the municipality came with development of toilets, electricity and water for few house and as the community they donated money to connect water pipe so that they don’t walk long distance, but the water is not drinkable is only for household activities
(cleaning etc) and irrigation, and the electricity is not for free they had to buy at the Chief Albert Luthuli municipality under Gert Sibande District.

But there’s something so disturbing the municipality doesn’t want to build them the RDP houses because they said to the community they took their money of RDP and bought the land for them. On the other side they said if they can’t handle this place it will be sold again and yesterday some municipality official came and told them to wait for their new houses.

The mine didn’t hire people who are staying at this farm. When the mine left they didn’t rehabilitate the area or even close the sinkholes, it was an open cast mine. Two boys died at the spot they were digging coal, their families we were never compensated, there was no open case this took place in 2010 by July. The mine won’t give them the two bodies of the diseased; they have even lost their livestock.

They can’t grow their own food if they have to hire a truck R800.00 per hector, R250.00 diesel and pay R1450.00 for two hectors and R2000.00 for crops, fertilizer. Still they don’t expect good results at the end when it’s time to harvest. The majority at this farm are not working and this affects the young generation as there are no schools or preschool facilities and the mines  does not implement its SLP. By Lorraine Kakaza