Sefikile Village , Moses Kotane Local Municipality Northwest Province
I started Bench Mark Foundation Activists course in June 2019. It really helped me because I was aware of the things that were happening in my community but I told myself that they are beyond my control, I cannot help my community and me as an individual because I was also affected.
Cracked houses-: This is the problem we chose, it was not attended to and it shows that this problem will still re-occur and we did our best to reach out to the community regarding this problem. This is how it affected the community. Directly- All generations are affected but mostly, women and children because they spend most of the time at home. Indirectly- those who hear the blasting from the mine and not think that it could cause a damage and those who left their homes and stay elsewhere.
We did our further investigations and interviewed some few villagers who expressed their pain of being in a risk, not just on cracked houses but their health as well is being put at risk, the following are some of the concerns from the few villagers that we interviewed-:
1. Mine is failing us by bringing Non- South African Citizens in our country. They come with illnesses and drugs. This is very bad for the community.
2. Mine fails us by using heavy trucks in our internal roads and not fix it afterwards and the road gets damaged and have potholes that cause accidents or people breaking their legs.
3. Heavy machinery from the mines damage our houses. They get cracked and mine does not take full responsibility to fix it.
4. The chemicals in the mine are affecting our health, people often get sick and eventually die due to the dust and bad chemicals.
5. Our sisters are introduced to prostitution and drugs from mine workers. It happens mostly when the mine hires foreigners (Non- South African Citizens)
Action Plan-: This is what we did as Activists: -We approached relevant people. -Checked on affected communities regularly so that they don’t lose hope on us. -Asked affected communities to take pictures after every blasting. -Alerted the village leaders about this problem and our activism course. We also alerted the ward councillor. We still have a list of affected communities, we made a register and we still have pictures.
Solution-: After thorough investigation to the mine and from the affected houses in this community, decision would be taken from there because the mine made false excuses which favoured them, so I believe that we as activists would find closure.
The community also needs a workshop regarding this so that they know how to handle this situation to avoid further damage in their houses because climate change is also a problem. When it’s windy, the cracking gets worse and when there are heavy rains, the cracks grow and that’s where community’s health gets affected. Such things need to be taken into consideration.
I have learnt a lot in this Activist training course and willing to learn more and do more for the community because I have seen how mine damages people’s village, health and properties and still gets away with it but with this training course I have learnt that it’s not going to happen again.
I am now attaching pictures of some of the affected houses.
Story by Christinah Mogobye