Community alerts/ Gilbert Moela/Atok, Monametse/25-10-2018, 9:18 PM]

As we all know that in the past and even currently in others areas chiefs have been increasingly controlling the interactions between mining corporations and the “traditional communities” the formally represent. Many villages in Limpopo Province, especially Sekhukhune District have been facing the same situation since  illegal chrome mining was introduced. The “investors” will approach a chief and or headman promising them money all sorts of other benefits, it is now clear that it is far easier for this “investors” to talk to chief than the hundreds of villagers who will be affected by the illegal chrome operations. The community of Monametse is one such villages that have been suffering at the hands of this illegal chrome mining which also brew tensions between the chiefs, the villagers and few of those who were benefiting from this illegal operations.

This has let to the community establishing an engagement forum that was to deal with all this issues head-on. The engagement forum has managed to addressed the issues which let to the chiefs agreeing that although mining can be destructive, it can also bring “positive” changes to the community. During all this livestock owners also raised their concerns as this will affect their animals. After all parties have sat down and divulge on issues it was discovered that the land on which the illegal mining was taking place once had a permit granted to Hlabirwa A Pheladi Mining of which the permit has expired. Hlabirwa A Pheladi approached the affected headmen with a hope of securing a consent to renew his permit however the headmen referred them  to the community engagement forum which later agreed that Hlabirwa A Pheladi on conditions that amongst others they must first set-up a community trust, allow the community to establish a company that will work with Hlabirwa A Pheladi on the project.

The combined effect of these circumstances was that some of the biggest challenges that exist for communities directly affected by mining are the ones that relatively receive low levels of benefits from this operations and moreover, they are frequently excluded from decision-making and participation when it comes to mining on their land. The residents of Monametse see this as a light at the end of the tunnel as it will create jobs for the community. The community engagement forum together with Hlabirwa A Pheladi are currently still talking about the remedial actions that will be put in place  when and if this affect the community negatively.

Story by Gilbert Moela

SCMAC