Mpumalanga (South Africa)

Community Alerts/Lorraine Kakaza/09 June 2017

On the 8th June I was in Grootvlei farm conducting a survey, when I got to the households I felt like crying as its difficult to see people living in such bad conditions while they surrounded by mines.

When I ask about the mines the honest people were telling the story of mining industries and their behaviour. Mam Nkambule related her story to the mine that operated there from 1990 -1991 but the mine didn’t operate for long as it was operating without the water use licence and there was no health and safety representatives that leads to 2 mine workers death and that resulted in mine to be closure, but they can’t remember the name of the mine now.

MamNkambule explained that she grew up in the farm her parents used to work for the farmer named Hans he then passed away after he passed away all the farm workers took over. As time passed the municipality came with development of toilets, electricity and water for few house and as the community they donated money to connect water pipe so that they don’t walk long distance, but the water is not drinkable is only for household activities
(cleaning etc) and irrigation, and the electricity is not for free they had to buy at the Chief Albert Luthuli municipality under Gert Sibande District.

But there’s something so disturbing the municipality doesn’t want to build them the RDP houses because they said to the community they took their money of RDP and bought the land for them. On the other side they said if they can’t handle this place it will be sold again and yesterday some municipality official came and told them to wait for their new houses.

The mine didn’t hire people who are staying at this farm. When the mine left they didn’t rehabilitate the area or even close the sinkholes, it was an open cast mine. Two boys died at the spot they were digging coal, their families we were never compensated, there was no open case this took place in 2010 by July. The mine won’t give them the two bodies of the diseased; they have even lost their livestock.

They can’t grow their own food if they have to hire a truck R800.00 per hector, R250.00 diesel and pay R1450.00 for two hectors and R2000.00 for crops, fertilizer. Still they don’t expect good results at the end when it’s time to harvest. The majority at this farm are not working and this affects the young generation as there are no schools or preschool facilities and the mines  does not implement its SLP. By Lorraine Kakaza

Community Alerts/Lorraine Kakaza/Mpumalanga/08 June 2017

 

On the 07/06/2017 I spend the my day on field doing a survey at the community of Kazuka also known as Five Cent, the survey is about transformation of extractive industries for sustainable economic and social development and real change .Kazuka community they are always happy to see me cause they are able to share the stories about their living conditions with me.

The common thing that I have heard about from each household is blasting and cracks it’s so disturbing as the mine don’t tell the community when they are about to blast there’s no syringing  nothing, POM’s is does its  blasting without their concern and without confirming .

This hurt their dignity, culture and human rights they have lost hope in a way that they felt as if they can stop the mines ,they are not allowed to collect wood the mine has fenced the area if the caught collecting wood they are arrested.

They normally do blasting around 11am and 15:00 pm those who have phones do receive SMS from the mines that they will be blasting.Our children’s even fear to play outside either inside the house when they are outside they faint ,when they are inside they think the house will fall and they have noticed a bad smell after blasting when I ask ” what’s the smell ,smells like?” they response is it smells like a chemical ,and after that they will have headache.

When it’s raining they don’t sleep the houses that have been built by the mines are full of cracks, the ceiling is falling, some of their houses are built on the wetland.

Their children are study far in the location using the government bus, but most leave home with an empty stomach because their parents and grannies are not unemployed, it gets better after they receive the social grant from SASSA (South African Social Service Agency).When the grant money runs out the children depend on the food scheme at school during weekend they are home so they would make a plan and one alternative is to borrow money from SASSA.

The only hope they have now is if they can tell their stories through a documentary that will teach other  about the negative impacts of mines when it comes to land, water, air quality, livestock and the lifestyle changes from better to worse even to high rate of mortality

They message that they left is their children can’t finish at school ,they run after the mine workers fell pregnant and we as parents we have to face the consequences ,Children around Carolina are on drugs ,there’s crime South Africa let unite and tell the world that mining kills our environment ,us and the earth is at risk .”Let’s unite “By T.L Kakaza

 

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

Community Alerts/Bongiwe/Mpumalanga/06 June 2017

Community of Kamadakwane (Umjindi) delivers a memorandum to Agnes mine management

The Community of Umjindi(Barberton in the Low veld )are sick and tired of the way in which the Mine (Agnes) operates. Last year more than 50 people were retrenched. In the memorandum the following points were stated

1.The Community demands that the mine must hire 80% of the locals more especially the Youth as most are Unemployed who in turn become  this so called ‘Zama zamas’ Illegal Miners.

2.There must be a new committee to be elected that is going to communicate with both the community and the mine.

3.A new liaison Officer has to be  Nominated. By Bongiwe-Mpumalanga

Community Alerts/Lorraine Kakaza/Mpumalanga/05 June 2017

Today I was going to town and when I was about to approach Standard bank I smelled a terrible odour/smell; I was wondering what could it be. My guess was a sewer I couldn’t believe what I saw with my eyes, I went straight to the municipality and reported it and they told me that they are going to attend it the following day. I’m not happy at all cause next to it there are shops that sell food/take away this is happening at the main road called Vortrekker and Steen street .Customers are no longer buying and there are no signs of danger and I’m 100% certain that when children are passing there they are in danger as they are unable to see what is going on at the corner. I have reported many unattended sewer but none of them are being fixed two weeks there is someone who losses their lives by the sewer. By Lorraine Kakaza

Community Alerts/Zanele/Mpumalanga/20 May 2017

On the 20th May we attended safe cities for women campaign in Soweto. Soweto women’s forum together with AASA and Soul City institute social justice hosted a community gathering with women for Global Safe Cities Day. We had discussion in break away sessions where we discuss about the following:

-reflections on how unsafe public transport for women

-women’s demand for safety in public transport (taxi)

-the role of the community in ensuring safety in taxis

-potential collective action that can be taken

-honouring the life’s if our dear sisters who were brutally killed

The question that we must ask ourselves is we safe in public transport because most of women experience violence, harassment and rape Making awareness and share experience find each other and support each other as black women so that we can create a safe space where we can feel empowered.

You can follow us on tweet

#safetaxinow

#safecitiesbecause

By Zanele

 

Community Alerts/Lorraine Kakaza/Mpumalanga/21 May 2017

A young community activist was killed today around 3am when he was getting ready to go home. He was a leader who was always standing at the forefront to fight of unemployment, water and service delivery around Carolina at Silobela which is the township. He was stabbed to death by a group of people which are unknown as yesterday it was Friday he was at the tavern with friends having fun the painful part is, it is said he was getting ready to go home he went straight to his car and found a group of people standing around/ surrounding his car with knifes the next thing his body was lying down.

Sandile Nkutha is no more so he can’t tell us what happened whether they were quarreling or he was under threat, fortunately on the night of the incident that occurred at the tavern called Kwamthuzi there was an eye witness who saw one guy who was also involved in the killing of Sandile Nkutha. He is young high school learner studying at the high school called Zinikeleni high school doing his Grade 10. He was taken into police custody with the suspect, the suspect was been beaten by the police to reveal names of those who were involved in the killing of Sandile, the community of Carolina is angry that all young activists who bringing change are being killed brutally and fear who is next?. By Lorraine Kakaza

Community Alerts/ Bongiwe /Mpumalanga/17 May 2017

This is a sad story of Miss Nkosi of Barberton in Mpumalanga (Sincobile Village) next to Fairview Mines. I visited Sincobile on Tuesday 16 May 2017 to find how the Fairview Mine affects the nearby community Sincobile. I learnt that they are more affected by the poor Municipal Service Delivery and more of land issues.

Miss Thulisile Nkosi has been a community member of this Village since 1991.The land by then had not been properly planned for inhabitants hence a few years later they were removed from their down side of the place and relocated on the far right upper side of this place, next to the main road from Barberton to the Maputo corridor N4.Miss Nkosi had a very sick baby by then so she was transferred to the Government Hospital in Pretoria (Baragwanath) due to critical medical conditions. She left behind her three children, while the relocation happened in her absence.

Her children were moved to a relatives’ house unlike the rest of the residents who were given another portion of land. She was alerted by her relative that she had no new place to stay; she couldn’t come back by then as her daughter was still sick and didn’t have the funds to travel. Eventually she came back after 3 weeks of the incident she was told that they couldn’t relocate her as she was away. She went from pillar to post in finding a way to solve this problem; she talked to the Ward Councillor by then Mr Tailor Nkosi and involved Social workers but to no vain.

After having failed to get the house as per relocation she stayed by her mother’s house for a while and then rented a place around. And this is her stick and mud house she built for she in this land that doesn’t belong to her. She stays with her 5 children in this small house. She is a single mother to make matters worse and amongst her children there’s a  teenage boy so life is difficult, had it not been for her sick daughter she could have been allocated a piece of land when people were relocated. By Bongiwe

 

 

Community Alerts/Lorraine Kakaza/Mpumalanga/17 May 2917

Today I visited the community of Kazuka (5cent) which is well known as Groenvallei farm at Carolina  which is under Chief  Albert Luthuli Municipality .I visited the Mbokane’s family, they told me about the mines that surround  them and the bad treatment from POM’s, Phembani mine as well as East Side, the  community has been complaining  about employment and other health related issues.  Community members have started having sinus, respiratory challenges and illness linked to poor air and water quality, dust from the mine and constant moving trucks.

The mine promised to build houses with running water, street lights, kraal for their livestock, and community recreational/sports facilities for children to play, but none of these has been made into a reality and the community is feed up with mine management lies and empty promises .

Last week there was a meeting that was called by Steward who works for East side mine, last week they told the Groenvallei community that they will be blasting soon and the mine is 500m away so it won’t affect them, but the community refused and  ended up taking the register and burnt it due to their frustrations of the mine.

Later I spoke with the youth some of them didn’t like what is happening, they used to have windmill and at some stage it was no longer working they then relied on the municipality to give them clean water. They would fight to access water from JoJo tanks that were not even clean and now they were bribed by drilling water. They were informed that there will a meeting on Friday the 15th of May, which will be held at Town hall for answers from DMR and only three community members were allowed to present to represent the community yet no one has agreed for the mine to blast.

What was is that strange today the mine sent texts that were written as follows “Please be advised we have a blast scheduled for today at 15:00 pm on Groenvallei 7 mine” The community says no to blasting but the mine has powers after the community refused they bribed them by drilling water. By Lorraine Kakaza

Community Alerts/Lorraine Kakaza/Mpumalanga/15 May 2017

Today we have Mpumalanga women’s groups meeting at Emalahleni  at the Numsa offices .The aim of the meeting is to report on activities and the gaps that lies in the project, the meeting was organized by Zanele Msibi and funded by Fatima Valley from Action Aid South Africa as a programme manager on mining and extractive .The meeting was so interesting as it was  women centred, we spoke about the challenges that we come across but also see this gathering as a journey that will empower us and the communities as we need to create a platform that benefit women by sharing, learning and we have to start were the community is.    By Lorraine Kakaza

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