By Sabatini Motloung
The EEO monitors have been investigating the complaints of residents in the Reedville (Mzumbe Village) that the local Lonmin Western Platinum Refinery Plant is the cause of the health issues they are experiencing.
According to Mr. Sandile Nombeni, a community activist from Ekurhuleni, the Western Platinum Refinery Plant is using toxic chemicals such as sulphuric acid, carbon monoxide, ammonia, sodium hydroxide, acetic acid and nitric Acid to refine the platinum. The fumes emitted from the refinery is inhaled by the residents. The monitors did interviews with the local clinic employees and patients and they found out that a large number of people who are consulting the clinic are affected by asthma, eye bleeding, and skin irritation to mention but a few.
In an interview with an EEO monitor, a sick person from the community said : “I was coughing and had short breath, I then went to the clinic for check-up and I was diagnosed with asthma, the same was said to my 3 neighbours… I am scared because all of these things happen to most people at the same time…”
The EEO team have learnt when they studied municipality records, that the Refinery Plant does not have a toxic waste incinerator to filter toxics from the chemicals used and that might be the reason why people get sick.
The EEO team is looking for evidence which will help them confirm the Reedville communities view that the Western Platinum is the cause of their poor health. The EEO want to get their facts straight. To date, monitors managed to acquire most of the facts and are hoping to submit their final report on the 23rd April 2015. This report will be published in the Action Voices Magazine.