Community Alerts/Lorraine Kakaza/Mpumalanga/06 June 2017

Communities living next to the mines suffer for the rest of their lives; it was so painful to hear people complaining about the mines that operate next to them. Yesterday I visited a small community of Masithande which is surrounded by three mines Phembani coal mine, East Side and Pit let by POM’s. Masithandane is found at Carolina under Chief Albert Luthuli municipality

All three mines are open casts and operate without the community concern and create more problems like teenage pregnancy, drugs and unemployment as they do not employ local people and this affect the youth.

So this has created a division Mrs Vilakazi says “we have a challenge of water, we don’t have water but when you pass at the mine you will see at the washing plant there do have water, the municipality take long to bring water, and they come once or twice in a week. When we are sick we have to go to town if the clinic doesn’t have enough medication one must to go to the hospital and wait on queue till late, while we stay far. I’m old but I’m tired of the dust that came from the mine cause I’m coughing and the mine is not willing to pay us when we ask questions they will be tell us to go to the municipality to report, what is it that we must report cause they treat us so badly we don’t have flushing toilets we had to dig a hole to have a toilet, again it’s too risky for my grand child and it’s a walking distance when it’s full we had  to dig another one. I’m getting pension grant the money is not enough it was going to be better if I had a garden.

We breath black air from the coal dust every day, we don’t have water and sanitation but mines got everything on their side. It took me years to build my house I use to stay in a the mud house until I got feed up of rain cause we wouldn’t sleep when it’s raining. We don’t have a road that shows that our government doesn’t care at all.

I was with my crew doing a survey trying to find out the transformation of extractive industries for sustainable economic and social development and a real change. To be honest the company is undermining, destroying the efforts of community to build itself and its economy than supporting them. Communities around Mpumalanga they hate mining as it doesn’t bring any change but it brings hunger, poverty and conflict to people’s life. By T.L Kakaza