Sekhukhune region in Limpopo is not only rich in platinum but has a large store of chrome. Large corporations have bought up the licences to mine for chrome. Smaller traders – largely from outside the community – saw an opportunity to make a quick buck by getting locals to mine on open land and to transport the metal 600km to the neighbouring country port Maputo where it is shipped to Korea and China. All this is done “illegally”. No company is registered, no taxes are paid, no rules of production or labour safety measures are practised. It is estimated that over R600million chrome has been spirited outside the community. Many of these traders have been identified as having criminal backgrounds.
Governments policy tends to favour the large mining corporations. Traditional chiefs and black entrepreneurs say that mining does not open opportunities for them. When they are offered shares in mines, they become indebted to banks and controlled by the mines. The larger community also receives little benefit. Rather mining operations introduce new costs and disrupt their lives.
At a community level, the poor and unemployed see this as an opportunity for immediate cash even though it is risky and dangerous to community life.Community monitors in Limpopo have been watching this war unfold and have documented it over the past two years.
- Poverty leave people with no care as long as they make money
Mathapelo Thobejane 16/04/2018
At Mooihoek Ga-Maroga in Limpopo province is an area where the Zama-Zamas are destroying their own yard to extract chrome. (Matlapana) the chrome is sold illegally and they make a living out of it because they manage to support their families. This is very dangerous and people choose to live at risk and sell the chrome. You can ask yourself what is happening when it’s raining, sad as poverty leave people with no care as long as they make money. This terrible dangerous activity continues to happen in this area.
- The unemployed dig illegal chrome
Mputi Thobejane/Modimolle/30-05-2018, 09:52]
The citizens of Ga-Maroga village they still dig illegal chrome because they still have a problem of unemployment and skills. 75% of these are ladies. The big mines in their area such as Dilokong chrome mine, Marula mine and Black chrome mine doesn’t take them serious. They struggle to even get clean drinking water because of mine operations.
The unemployment is very serious in this area. If you go there you could be so lucky because some other boys they steal money and if you are women they rape you after they make sure that you disappear and it’s a big problem cause they are busy with Nyaope (drugs) and all of things is coming from unemployment, development, education. So people feel that engaging in illegal chrome mining is one way out of poverty.
- Community Divided over illegal mining.
Gilbert Moela/Limpopo, Monametse/11-05-2018
Residents of Monametse Community, a Village in Limpopo province are at loggerheads over the illegal chrome mining taking place in the village. Over the past weeks the community held several meetings with a hope of uniting the whole residents to be one and strong with similar goals. The hunger for money and power has seen some of the community members being bribed (those with close ties to Induna) by investors to support them into defying community’s wishes of looking for a legal investors. With new mining development coming to the village, the community now finds it hard to elect the structure/ committee that will engage with the new developer (Bauba Platinum) which seeks to extend its current operation into the village. Some of community members on conditions of anonymity have stressed that, they community has for the past years missed out on prosperous benefits from mining companies as a results of this tensions between themselves. The community has for the past two days (10&11) held meetings with an aim of resolving the matters but the indunas have refused to be part all the meetings.
- An End to the last meal
Gilbert Moela/Monametse Village, Sekhekhune,Limpopo/ 9/09/2018
The Burgesfort cluster police today (08 September 2017) confiscated the machines used for illegal mining of chrome in Monametse Village. After the Bokoni Platinum Mine’s announcement on Care and Maintenance plan this was the community’s only hope for income. This call has angered the community members as the department, instead of making sure they regulate and help them mine legally, they confiscate mining equipment. Around 8 excavators have been brought to the surface from the mountains waiting to be loaded on the lowbed to the nearest police stations.
- Dear Minister of Minerals, Legalise community Chrome mining
Moshabi Selowa/Malingine,Sekhukhune-Limpopo/02 July 2017
Let’s assume you’re minister of minerals and am writing this to you.
Dear honourable, l hope this finds you well. As community member am concern about the chrome operations in Sekhukhune land, despite nature conservation this operation put bread on the table. Our animals are falling into holes which left un- rehabilitated. I am suggesting this to you and your co-workers:May you give communities access to operate under the permit which will include rehabilitation, but the permits charge us less than ten thousands rand in five month’s time.Reason being that they just do mine and run, running after your law which include high cost rate of permit and license.That is how l think we will survive and our animals. This donkey took three nights in a deep hole which is five metres deep, on Sunday morning around 11:00 after l rescued it did was to graze, the worst part is it seem to be blind. We are losing our livestock daily.
Can you say YES or NO to my concern?
- Government continues to fail the communities by flirting with the biggest mining companies
Gilbert Moela/Limpopo/30 May 2017
Many households around Sekhukhune District, Tubatse – Fetakgomo local municipality are facing a month without their only means of survival. The “illegal” mining that was helping put food on the table has been dealt a hush blow by the law enforcers. Police raided several machinery used to dig out chrome leaving the community stranded and hopeless. Most villagers are complaining about the treatment they are getting from the government and its departments. With mining as the main source of employment in Sekhukhune District everyone was depending on the “Illegal Chrome Mining” for survival. According to my source this will result mainly in community unrest causing road blockages if they don’t allow them to mine. The department of Minerals Resources is also refusing to issue communities with mining/prospecting rights. Again the government continues to fail the communities by flirting with the biggest mining companies. By Gilbert Moela
- Illegal Chrome puts bread on our table but destroys our land
Selowa Moshabi/Limpopo/29 April 2017
This illegal chrome mining operation takes place on top of our mountain of Monametse called Sehlakwe in Limpopo, Fetakgomo-Tubatse municipality. The land will likely be left un-rehabilitated after chrome is mined out; chrome currently puts bread on tables but destroys our land, whereas there is no agreement on rehabilitation.This will destroy many things and it will be worse as there is no agreement made to rehabilitate land after mining. Many bad impacts are currently being experienced like fire burning land, livestock’s legs end-up broken.Nothing will happen as we can see machines leave like as they come. Great loose to our nature, livestock, children, our streams which are source of water and many other things
- Communities are desperate for their minerals (chrome)
Mmathapelo Thobejane 13/03/2017
All these trucks are queuing to take the chrome at Ga-selepe. Yes people call them Zama-Zamas.It is a big issue in our region Sekhukhune at the moment. Everyone is asking about it and everyone wants to be involved – to get a job or a tender.Communities seem to enjoy this, while forgetting the health and safety risks that they work under.One day the police goes up and down looking for the Zama-Zamas.This operation is happening in the following villages Ga-maroga, Ga -Mahlokwane, Ga-selepe ,Ga- Selala , Ga-Mampa le dinaga Mabapi. In Marula there is a legal arrangement with Marula Platinum. This also has led to fights in the community .There are daily meetings to solve the problems. Communities are protesting and they fight each other over the minerals they were given by the mine Marula Platinum. The community says the Trusts that are set up to benefit them do not do this. They benefit individuals, the people who are board members.
- Chrome Mining – Police and miners clash
Moshabi Selowa 23/03/ 2017
Today more than ten police bakkies visited Mosotse community due to chrome mining issues. They were investigating the allegation that miners were fighting each other over places to mine. Some miners did not have licences since they expired early end of February this year.
- Chrome Mining causes death of 25 cattle in the village of Ga-Mampa,
Moshab Selowa 30/03/2017
This water turned to be greenish at chrome operations site at Mampa, Limpopo Fetakgomo Municipality Sekhukhune district.
On 29 March 2017, l meet two gentleman from the Mampa community who claimed to have lost their cattle. Mr Ramoshaba and Mr Phasha feel disappointed by chrome mining and say since last year cattle owners have lost about 25 cattle in all. The other issue is that digging in their fields results in livestock being unable to cross over the grazing land. They even fall inside the deep holes dug. Chrome is mined at the river source which doesn’t allow river to flow anymore.
- Chrome Mining left our mountains unsafe for livestock
Moshabi Selowa 25 /03/2017
This is on the top of our mountain of Monametse called Sehlakwe in Limpopo, Fetakgomo/Tubatse municipality. The land is left unrehablitated after chrome is mined. Chrome puts bread on tables but wastes our land as there is no agreement on rehabilitation. This will led to fires, livestock being hurt
- Places for traditional life destroyed
Moshabi Selowa 30/03/2017
The place called Motaganeng, Even the mountain schools boys and girls practices their first stage. As a results we no longer see great bulls than this.Livestock’s grazing land is on top of the mountain behind that bull cow, over there.In Limpopo,sekhukhune district fetakgomo/tubatse municipality is the place where l live.This river during the 80’s was flowing nicely, and supplying the whole of Monametse village.On long run time the mine develop shafts, in 2002 middle punt shaft began to operate results lack of quality water flow. The last picture shows the place called Masenkaneng where Christians help themselves by water together with community members when are from the mountain to collect wood, drinking the water being nice and its natural source operate regularly.
The place now does not flow as we speak. The river start on top the operation also weakened by now,l ??allegations also goes to the mine by its shaft of middle punt.
- Hunger pushes the man to dig chrome in his own yard
Katlego Malesa 23/04/2017
Makgopa vilkage is situated in the Fetakgomo Greater Tubatse municipality of Sekhukhune in Limpopo province.
Thise unemployed man was found digging the ore in his own yard in Makgopa village in thee Fetakgomo, Greater Tubatse municipality yesterday. , When asked why and whether he is aware of the danger and health risks to himself, his family and the neighbourhood, he said he really does not care because he does not have a choice.
- Police Raid Chrome Miners
Moshabi Selow 19.04.2017
This morning the police raided chrome mining places and arrested about 50 community members of Monametse.They took them to Mecklenburg police station. up to so far not yet knows the situation am preparing my self to go the station to hear more information.
Mathapelo Thobejane 19/04 2017
I think this arrest happened after the killing of a woman from Diphale who was killed yesterday by people in the community because they were fighting over Chrome.
- Looting of Mineral resources
Moela Gilbert 1/05/2017
Looting of mineral resources has become a norm in Sekhukhune district where illegal chrome mining is on everyone’s lips. Everyone wants a piece of land to enrich themselves illegally. Our communities are not even aware of the environmental impacts this is bringing to the land. Our government seems to be doing nothing or is powerless. An environmental roadshow to create awareness is needed.
- Community’s chance of Survival in Jeopardy
Gilbert Moela 30/05/ 2017
Many households around Sekhukhune District, Tubatse-Fetakgomo local municipality are facing a month without their only means of survival. The “illegal” mining that was helping put food on the table has been dealt a harsh blow by the law enforcers. Police have raided several machinery used to help dig out the chrome thus leaving the community stranded and hopeless. Most villagers are complaining about the treatment they are getting from the government and its departments. With mining as the main source of employment in Sekhukhune District everyone was dependant on the Illegal chrome mining for survival. According to my source community members will protest if they are not allowed to mine, The department of Minerals Resources is also refusing to issue communities with mining/ prospecting rights. Again the government continues to fail the communities by flirting with the biggest mining companies.