Tunatazama - Community Monitors

Community protest stops mine exploration drilling.

On 30 September 2011, community leaders of Chaneng received what is good news to them when the North West Regional office of the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) announced that the Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat) has been stopped from officially to conduct its infill drillings.

The urge to stop the exploration drillings started when the community complained about lack of consultation and engagement by the drilling companies and its authorizers. In addition to the exploration drillings which are intended for expansion of the Styldrift Shaft, the community felt the recent shaft which is under development, is not benefiting them despite being on their land- also “unlawfully”.

On 05 September this rural Community of Chaneng based in the North of Rustenburg went to the drilling companies (Rosond Drilling and Geoserve Drilling) to force them to stop the infill drillings. The 05 September was the start of the protest against the entire Styldrift Project, an expansion project of Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine (BRPM), which is owned by RBPlat.

The protest lasted until 07 September when the MEC Paul Sebego of Local Government and Traditional Affairs was forced by the tense situation to go down to Chaneng and address a full to capacity Kgotla of Chaneng.

In his address, Sebego committed to first persuading the RBPlat to withdraw the interdict which was “interdicting and restraining” Chaneng Youth Organisation (CYO), its Chairperson, his Deputy and Kgotla ya Setshwane (Chaneng) “as well as their members and associates and any person acting or “purporting to act on their behalf from committing… encouraging, supporting, participating in or condoning acts of violence… or assault or threatened assault of employees” of the RBR and BRPM amongst its many orders.

Sebego committed to ensuring that the mining company protested against will be called together with all affected parties to a meeting which would take place within five days to address all concerns which the community of Chaneng had with the Royal Bafokeng Platinum mines.

The RBPlat thus far are still portraying characteristics of capitalism in extending the timelines and not adhering to the commitments which are agreed upon. This will surely not be a report which MEC Sebego will be happy to provide to the community of Chaneng.

Though one pleasing report is that the community’s will to stop the exploration drillings was achieved “but not worth wine toasting”, said Chairperson of CYO-Joseph Magobe.

(extract from Rustenburg Review 2011)