Tunatazama - Community Monitors

When mines don’t provide with accommodation Ikemeleng should provide by Steven Ramokhula

Over-population in Ikemeleng.

Ikemeleng is a mining community in Kroondal just seven kilometers outside Rustenburg. It is in the center of five mining companies which are Xstrata, Samancor, Lanxess, Aquarius and Anglo American Platinum. One of the main issues facing the community of Ikemeleng is over population. The surrounding mining companies play a very big role in the increasing population within Ikemeleng. People come from different parts of the continent and country to seek employment. We have people from Ghana, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Lesotho and Botswana and nationwide. All these people came to seek employment to improve their standards of living.
Most of these people are attracted by mining activities taking place around Ikemeleng community. Floods of job-seekers flock towards the community because of the surrounding mines. Every month the population within Ikemeleng increases. The place is plus/minus twelve square kilometers (12km2) but accommodate plus/minus nine thousand (9000) people.
The living out allowance is the outstanding factor of the problem we are facing of over population in Ikemeleng. The surrounding mining company does not provide accommodation for their employees. They are given money named “living out allowance” which is meant to pay for their accommodation, food and transport. The employees find life very easy in Ikemeleng and they save some of their money for their needs.
Due to this over population, Ikemeleng has experienced lot of problems, crime has increased on the 25th of May this year a man was shot and injured on his way from a tavern, again on the 28th another man was found dead just few meters from the entrance of Ikemeleng and his private parts were cut off. The abuse of substances also has increased the spread of HIV/AIDS and other STI’s as well. Some people buy liquor and drugs for women in exchange for sex, while under the substances the don’t use condoms during sexual intercourse and leads to unwanted or unplanned pregnancy and the spread of STI’s and HIV/AIDS. Rape is also sky rocketing, all this unwanted/ unplanned pregnancies contribute to the increasing population.
I conducted two interviews using the “5why tool”
N.B the people I interview refused to give all their details only granted permission to use their first names.
Interviewee one – Motsamai
1. Why do you think there is over population in Ikemeleng?
“Because many people are living in a small place and don’t mind it as long as they have roof over their heads. They don’t even have a privacy or security”
2. Why so many people live in small place?
“Because there is lot of tenants in our community”
3. Why is there lot of tenants?
“Because of mine workers, they are ones that are tenants in our community”
4. Why are mine workers tenants in the community?
“Because mine does not provide its employees with accommodation, so they are forced to be tenants within surrounding communities”
5. Why do these mines provide accommodation?
“Because the mines provides the employees with the living out allowance, this money is meant to pay for their accommodation, food and transport so they use the money to pay for cheaper accommodation and keep the remaining money.

Interviewee two – Molamo
1. Why do you think there is over population in Ikemeleng?
“Because the people living in the community are more than what the community can accommodate”
2. Why are there so many people in the community?
“Because of the mining activities are taking place in the community of Ikemeleng”
3. Why the surrounding is mines causing over population?
“Because most people living Ikemeleng are tenants. (Mine employees and job seekers)
4. Why are most mine employees tenants in Ikemeleng?
“Because mines do not provide them with accommodation”
5. Why is it that the mines do not provide with accommodation?
“Because these mines provide a living out allowance”

We urge all mining companies surrounding Ikemeleng to work hand in hand with the community in decreasing or managing the population. We also urge the companies to build hostels to accommodate its employees whom are from other parts of the continent and country, and for the living out allowance to be given only to local employees. Mining companies, private companies and all stake holders to help existing local organizations to host awareness campaigns on social issues such as HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, rape, and safe sex among others.
We further urge the community to build strong and active structures that will help community members gain confidence. Structures that will benefit the community at large teach members their rights and help them put them into practice.