Justice and Peace – Klerksdorp The mine will not move us say Dominionville community
Sadness, shock, and uncertainty are all the words which best describe the living conditions of the people staying in the community of Dominionville. The community members are being continuously reminded that they will be removed from the land in which they have stayed for the past eighty years. This worries the community a lot and the majority are opposing the idea of being relocated to somewhere else.
The Klerksdorp Justice and Peace group, who have active members in the community have declared support for the communities’ struggle.
Dominionville is a small, isolated area on the north eastern part of Klerksdorp (Matlosana) where there is a population of black and white people living in different sections. The white residents live in a well-developed residential area with municipal services provided, The black residents live in old mining houses which are now dilapidated buildings and shacks. They do not get any municipal services. The area of Dominionville is 1.70 km2 (0.66mi) in size and has a population of 676 (Government Statistics 2011).
This area has a long history of mining starting in the 1930’s.In 2010 Shiva Uranium, a BEE constructed company, which is owned by a consortium of Oak- bay Investments took over ownership from Uranium One a Canadian minng company. Oak Bay is largely owned by the Gupta family. Duduzane Zuma, the son of the President of South Africa is a non-exectuive director of Shiva Uranium.
It is believed that that portion of the land which is occupied by the black population was sold to Shiva Uranium mining company between 2009 and 2010.
With changes in the law in the new South Africa most rural communities got their land through communal property associations under the restitution and redistribution programmes. However others were left out because the interests of mining companies come first, before that of communities.
According to the chairperson of the Dominionville community structure and a member of the ward committee, Mr. Sam Makhwele, “The community was actually robbed in 2004 when the changes to the Dominionville map were made by the authorities. The black population in this community has lived in the dark for many years and are continuing to endure the pain.We do not know what the future holds for us, because we were not even consulted when the land was put on sale. Mr. Makhwele added, “We believe we should have been placed under a trust or a communal property association just like in other farms.”
The Justice and Peace (J&P) monitors approached Shiva Uranium for information about this problem. “The personal assistant to the company Chief operating officer (COO), Mr. Swart, told us that the only person who can answer our questions on the Dominionville issue is the COO, whom the last time we were informed was in Randburg- Gauteng for the company wage negotiations”. said David Gaanakgomo a J&P acivists based in Tigane township.
“ Shiva Uranium company has a tendency of shifting responsibilities, they will refer you to a person who will obviously not be of any help”. added Tshepo Mmusi, a Justice and Peace activist who did a research involving Shiva Uranium Company explained.
In a meeting held with the Dominionvlile committee, they expressed their determination to stay and fight this issue, ” We will fight for this land, we will not go anywhere. We ask Justice and Peace and other organisations to give support and help expose the situation”. Said Lesego Setlhabi, a committee member.
On the 15th May . Petrus Moshe, a J&P activist asked the the mayor of the Matlosana Municipality, Mike Kgauwe about the removal and service delivery issues in Dominionville. He replied that he is aware about the situation in the area, and was looking at it. He declined to elaborate more on it.
When the J&P activists last visited the community they did not have a water supply. They said they have been struggling with water since December 2014. The committee believes that this water cuts is part of a strategy to make the community suffer so that they agree to move. In the year 2013 the only school for the black population burned down, thus forcing the learners to be sent to schools in Jouberton and Tigane townships.It is not known who torched the school and the police has stopped investigating.
With all these challenges which the people are facing in Dominionville, the J&P in Klerksdorp took a stand to be in solidarity with the affected people and give them necessary support. “We will fight to the end, all we want is answers, the struggle will be taken to the next level and our committee will lead it without fear”, said Talita Diphoko, a committee member and J&P activist in Dominionville.