Klerksdorp/ Dominionville , dumped by Uranium Mining

Dominionville is a village outside the gold mining town of Klerksdorp in the North West Province of South Africa. The story of Dominionville is the story of a village that rose when Uranium One a Canadian company set up operations. Then the people were dumped after the mines closed. Now the mine has been bought by Shiva Uranium owned by the Gupta family and the son of the ex- South African President, Dudazane Zuma. Again the mine is operating with little benefits to the community

Activists of Klerksdorp Justice and Peace and local residents of Dominionville have monitored the behaviour of the mines since 2003. The following are a selection of their posts over the years. The monitoring is ongoing.

 

  • The Zamazama Shaft of Terror

Puseletso Diphoko from Dominionville 13/05/2018

Dominionville is a place that mostly have poor and uneducated people. Which is why we have illegal miners that call themselves Zamazamas. Zamazama mining leads to horrible shafts, cracks in our homes and deaths that result from violent conflict among the miners.

On the 12th of May 2018 I went to what is famously known as ” The shaft of terror” in our community. It is well said that this shaft is full of water but I clearly did not see the shaft opening as it was covered by grass. It was easy for someone who did not know the area to fall down the shaft and drown.

It is also  called “the shaft of terror” because of the gun battles that has been taking place there. It is said that the Zamazamas are ruthless people who aren’t afraid of killing anyone who gets in their way.

 

  • So the environment is not safe for the community.

Lesego/ Dominionville-North West/ 16/09/2018

The problem about our community is, burning issues are raised, and then followed by promises, but nothing promising will really materialise. We have seen researchers and activists in various fields coming to our area and writing reports which will never reach the community as feedback. The community quality of life and livelihood haven’t changed considering the ever changing times in today’s life. There are people serving the community structure as leaders; however nothing can be pointed as an achievement. We don’t see interventions from the authorities whom we put into power; their action demonstrate a complete ignorance to the needs of the community. In becoming specific to our community issues, we want to see the school which got burned renovated and up- running again. Further than that we want access to the land, we can work it and produce food, the question is how do we achieve it without water, let the department of water affairs and the Dr. Kenneth Kauda come down to us to address us on water problems. Access to clean water has always been an issues here, we can never be sure to which extent we consume clean water because we are situated next to the Shiva uranium mine which pollutes the water and the air.

 

  • Where is our land? 

Talita Mogolegeng 14/05/2018

I am a caregiver at Atlegang Home base Care and a member at Catholic Justice and Peace Commission.What have we done as Dominionville community? Answer we don’t know. Who is having knowledge ?  Only Shiva Uranium, former President Jacob Zuma and the Gupta’s. Good people (DMR) the Department of Mineral Resources could you please give us our land back. How can you own the land which was owned by other’s you can ask who is other’s(the community).

Uranium mine came and operated without consulting our community. This happened 2003 when a corporation from Canada, Uranium One came.

Last month, April 2018  our community protested outside the Mayors office . We protested against the mining company buying the land we staying on without consulting the  Dominionville community. We asked the mayour from who  did you buy the land? Who do you consult first? How did it happened and where did you meet? Who was involved and Why did it happened?

With whom did you discs the Social Labour Plans (SLP).

The  Local Economic Development (LED) has been described as a process of building up the economic capacity of a local area to improve its economic future and the quality of life for all. It is a process by which public, business and nongovernmental sector partners work collectively to create better conditions for economic growth and employment generation. To Dominionville  this has not done as the law requires.. Local Economic Development (LED)projects are aimed at contributing toward the eradication of poverty and community upliftment in the area. For us non of the abovementioned was done.

Shiva Uranium mine does not employ workers the local area on which it operates. These projects are identified in consultation with local authorities and in the context of  the Integrated Development Plan(IDP). For our community of Dominionville it does not works for them.

Shiva Uranium has not developed Local Economic Development (LED) projects that will make a significant impact on sustainable livlihoods and development.

 

  • Recycling is the youth last resort

Nthabiseng Leshowe- Dominionvile-North West/ 21/10/16

Dominionville is a small village in North West province under Dr kenneth kaunda district municipality. In our community, we are having about a total number of 100 youth aged between the ages 18 to 35 who are currently not working, more painful is, and among them some have matriculated. The reality is they cannot find employment, they cannot either  further their studies, for the major of them to survive they have to go and dig some old trenches of cable lines from the old Dominionreefs mine, this is sees as a survival and sometimes can be seen as that they are on the wrong side of the law . Some are surviving by collecting other recyclable materials such as plastics and paper.

Unemployment is a negative in our community, you may be skilled, qualified willing to work, but this does not guarantee you will get work,  I am afraid that this frustrations can result to loss of sense of purpose in life and lead to a feeling that we are losing control over our life’s

 

  • Abandoned mine, Dominionville , An uncaring and irresponsible footprint

Jo Mashilo /Klerksdorp Justice and Peace/26th July 2016

The uranium mine, Dominion Reefs Ltd which dissolved in the year 1967 left the land un rehabilitated in the community of Dominionville in Klerksdorp. They truly left an uncaring and irresponsible footprint. Just walking around in the area where they got entry to extract the minerals underground, its misery and shame to those who care for the environment.

They left deep visible holes, old and unsafe structures. An incident which claimed a life of a child was reported before. This area remains unsafe today, the children, especially young boys could easily go there and do whenever they wish to play.

The new company which operates today, Shiva uranium put a fence in the area, it was just a mere and simple one which is now gone due to theft. The lives of the children remain unsafe and nobody from the companies and government takes a remedial action to the    distracted land.

As the community, we feel that the Guptas have captures us

 

  • Mining Brings Misery 

Community Alerts/ Modise Tlhako/North West Province/ 20 October 2016

Dominionville is not far from the mine called Shiva Uranium, this mine is owned by the famous Gupta family and the son of the state president Duduzane Zuma. As a community we are challenged, Unemployment has reached an unacceptable stage, service delivery in particular water and electricity are a daily struggle, land ownership remains a major challenge, who can believe that in 21 years of democracy one is still complaining about such kind of things under the watch of our government. We have tried to involve all the relevant stake holders regarding the above problems but nothing happened thus far, we  want the world to know that the Guptas bought us as poverty and not development.  They claim that they own the portion of the land we are currently staying at; we feel as the community that the Guptas have captured us too. They are busy mining but no one from this village got employed, we will like to call the people of South Africa to come and help us out in our misery.

 

 

Why are youth unemployed in  Dominionville

Tshepo Mmusi September 2013

 

Dominionville is an isolated area with high level of unemployment amongst youth, to which in many parts of the country should be highly economically active population group. Social problems identified facing the community and youth in general are linked to unemployment, because youth in the area feel left out, ignored and frustrated.My research seeks to establish why youth is unemployed in the area whereas Shiva Uranium is operating in the area, and to also establish what is the company doing to reduce unemployment amongst youth because based on the previous articles written by community monitors unemployment in the area was always highlighted. In my research I realized that youth have different perceptions for not being employed ranging from other people using muti in order to be employed, foreign nationals preferred over them and other people having relatives working within the company and doing favors for friends and relatives.

One key finding was lack of skills required for jobs market in the mining sector. I did my research in Dominionville in the Dr. Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality in the North West Province from the 3rd to the 20th of September 2013.

 

Background to Dominionvile

 

Dominionville is an area with rich history of mining since the 1960’s, and companies which operated in the area include Anglo Gold, Afrikanner Stiet mine, Uranium One and currently Shiva Uranim.

I started working with the community of Dominionville since 2008 together with committed members of Justice and Peace in the area.my intervention together with my fellow colleagues with the help of Jubilee South Africa members started when we identified quite a number of challenges faced by members of the community ranging from eviction by the so called owner of the area Orgie Marais, high levels of radioactivity in the area (study conducted by Mariette Liefferink from Federation for sustainable energy), irresponsible mining behaviours and other social problems.

When I started to work as a community monitor which was supported by Benchmarks Foundation in 2010, I did community and wrote short articles with regard to what I was observing and the stories which people in the area told me about, I realized that all the social ills experienced by members of the community were linked and were mostly as the result of unemployment. In 2011 and 2012 when the community monitoring school expanded monitors who joined the programme who were from Dominionville emphasized and identified high level of unemployment as a problem which resulted to social problems like poverty, alcohol and drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and other related diseases, crime etc. The community has more school dropouts than Matriculants and as a result youth becomes unemployed in their big numbers.

While on the other hand monitors also identified problems related to the community’s infrastructural development, community projects, environment degradation by mining companies in the area which impact to people’s health, air and vegetation. All of these social problems negatively affect the whole community especially the elderly because when young people are not employed they resort and engage in activities which are detrimental to their lives, as a result the elderly are left with the burden of dealing with young people’s alcohol and drug addictions and having to take care of their children.

Dominionville should be viewed as one of the economic hub of Klerksdorp, and its immediate community members should be prioritized when mining companies are recruiting its staff and labour. In reality companies which have been mining in the area should have clear programmes of empowering youth in the community through employment, learnerships, apprenticeships and internships.

  interview With Residents of Dominionville – Talita Diphoko

 I firstly interviewed Talita Diphoko who is one of the community leaders in the area, she is one of the Justice and Peace organizers, an advanced community monitor and she also work for Atlegang Home Based Care as a project manager.

When I asked her that based on the history of mining in the area why youth is unemployed in their big numbers. She responded by saying ‘mining companies which come in the area does not care about Dominionville and its people they are only interested in making money and just leave the area, the worst part is that they even bring their own people when they come to mine here’.

When I asked if she thinks that the youth is interested in working in the mines she responded by saying ‘Yes they are interested because many of them have big dreams of working in the mines because when they hear that the mine will be hiring at Haartebeesfontein they go and queue in groups but unfortunately they are not hired, many of them are even leaving the area to seek work in areas such as Rustenburg and to other provinces such as Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape’.

When I asked if the mine is interested employing locally she responded by saying ‘I don’t think so because when Shiva came in the area they never consulted us about their plans in creating work or hiring people, we only heard that a new company came and it was retrenching people and that it has brought along its workforce’.

When I asked if there are programmes in place which are aimed at empowering Youth she responded by saying ‘Shiva has not provided us with anything or skills to the youth we only saw one advert in a newspaper that they have trained 20 artisans who will be working for them in the mines, but the only people who came were from Public works who wanted youth area to be trained and put on construction learnership programme’.

When I asked her why does she think the mine is not employing locally she responded by saying ‘Maybe people in our area do not have Grade 12 and experience in working in the mines, but I also think that the mine people from outside because they do not being paid much and they are hard workers’.

In her opinion when I asked if there is a certain level of education required in order to work at the mines she said ‘ I think grade 12 with Mathematics but other work does not want people with mathematics and laborers are just hired without documents, look at those working at Shiva who are from Lesotho’.

interview With Residents of Dominionville – ward councillor of ward 4 Ms. Happy Boitumelo Plaatjie.

I visited Ms. Plaatjie at her home in Jouberton where she lives in comfort with her family but representing members of the community of Dominionville.

The first question I asked was what the IDP document says in terms of jobs creation in Dominionville, because when companies approach communities before starting its operations, there should be partnership between that particular community, the local municipality and the company in terms of social investment and Jobs creation. Her response was that she was not yet a councilor when those agreements were made, and she does not know anything about mining and she referred me to corporate services or Dr. Kenneth Kaunda district municipality.

interview With Residents of Dominionville – School principal from Thuto Thebe Secondary School Mr. Dingiswayo.

I paid Mr. Dingiswayo a visit at Cocekani Secondary School in Jouberton where his school has been accommodated because their school burnt down on August 2013.

When I asked why youth is unemployed in Dominioville he responded by saying ‘The problem with the youth of Dominionville is moral decay because people in that area are used to sitting around doing nothing expecting handouts and wanting people to feel sorry for them. I have been working in this area for more than ten years and the out of 100%, 80% of my learners drop out of school to join the others who are engaging in alcohol and substance abuse. I cannot say that they are interested because I see them everyday not doing anything, if mines in the area cannot accommodate them why don’t they move out of Dominionville and seek other job opportunities’.

I then asked if the mine is interested in employing youth in Dominionville he said ‘Youth in Domionville lack skills and the surrounding mines require people with technical skills and for one to acquire those skills they will need basic education and 90% of youth in the area do not have Grade 12, and the few that managed to pass grade 12, their subjects do not allow them to pursue careers in mining trades and most of them their symbols are not satisfactorily. I am worried about this generation that I am teaching because after school they go back to the community to live the life that their fellow community members are living. It looks like there is a generational curse in this community and to break this chain of poverty and slavery people must stop cocooning themselves in Dominionville they need to move out and live the life that other people are living’.

When I asked if there are programmes aimed at empowering youth ‘He said their level of education makes it difficult for them to be trained due to inadequate education schooling system caused by combined classes for example you will find somebody who passed standard 8 not talking and knowing what they should be knowing that is competence v/s certificate of results.