Tunatazama - Community Monitors

Mmathapelo’s  Sekhukhune diary August 2016

Mmathepelo Thobajane visited different communities in  Sekhukhune  in the first week of August, with a visitor. These are here notes from her visitWhatsApp Image 2016-08-04 at 6.52.48 PM

Note One : Communities start a new struggle against the mine

After the documentary at Atok Bokone mine at Monametse and Monametsane village  we received n call at Twickenham mine communities leaders where meeting today to discuss  the strategy  on how to deal with  the company Anglo. We joined them after their meeting. At the meeting there where  also the examiners forming  part of the community, and they told us whatnot they are ready to fight against the mine that brought NMT to their  shaft  and people  lost their  work. So this is just the beginning  of the struggle.

Note Two: A Worker whose job was stolen

Good evening comrades, today as we continue with our journey at the Eastern Limpopo under Twickenham mine, we visited the community of Magobading together. Some individuals have shared their stories. Besides the challenges they are facing  we found out that there was a gentlemen who has never worked at the mine but he has been  going to the interview for several time since 2010 and he has been called  for medical examination and he even went to Dover to test but he has never been called to come to work. He also attended the interview again last year  but he couldn’t get the job because he did not have the competent B certificates that allows  him to work underground. Last year he found out that his name was on the data base of mine employees, yet he was not employed He went to mine and also took the matter to the lawyer’s. When the lawyer contacted the mine he then after some days received a call from another mine Modikwa  Platinum mine to come and work there. After talking with his advisors they told him  not to consider the job offer. Even now the mine never gave him the true story about what is happening  the where 3 victims on this matter from the same community but earlier this year the other  victim died.

Communities affected by mines are facing challenges everyday and it’s  so painful to know that someone  is working  at the mine under your name this mines don’t  respect the people  or communities  they are working  with what they need is just profit.

Note Three: Local people don’t get jobs

Today we went to Ga -Mashabela village we managed to talk to one of the headmen at the village. He took us for a walk where he shared with us about how the mine affects  them and the deals at the Tsate mine that  is about to open  soon. At Tsate, he explained that the mine is not caring about them at the community as this even created some conflicts around the village. He said that the mine list for who would get job was that of the municipality and traditional chief. They print them and apply jobs for the people from outside.That’s why in the village  they are high % unemployed people.

Note Four: Illegal chrome mining

And they suffer illegal mining of chrome that is happening at Selepe village. The trucks goes up and down in the village. They are afraid  that  one day  the accidents might happen  as it is a gravel road with no signs in it and children play on  the streets. And again it is bad for their health as the dust is too much.

Note Five: Problems in the Clinic.

We also visited the Clinic to find out about the statistics around the STI, HIV others sickness ,we have been told that since the mines started to operate the HIV-AIDS increased too much. They also told us about the supply of the condoms at the clinic, that people prefers the flavoured ones  but they only get that once and they didn’t last. So they think  if the government can supply the clinic  it will make a change to the community. The also told us about how they struggle to get ambulance at the Clinic. They use 1 ambulance from Mecklenburg hospital which is 10km away from them. During rainy seasons because of the mud at the road they don’t have access. And they wish if something can be done about it. They also said that the nurses don’t have accommodation as two Sisters  are supposed to work standby but because  of accommodation  they knockoff  at 16:00.

Note Six: The Cattle are dying.

Today we met with the herdman from  Morapaneng, Dithabaneng and Ditwebeleng.The main issue was about the livestock  that is dying as a result  of drinking  water from under ground. The mine has built the dam promising them that they will supply them with water but even today they never fulfill the promise.The grazing land has been fenced off, the livestock don’t have anywhere else to go. They also explained how they take out a cow that was stuck at the mud. They use a chain block to rescue the cows and most of the time they find the cow already drank the water and they die after they just come out.

Again the herdman explained that as they used the river water to wash and drink when they are at the field since the operations of the mine. When they bath their skin becomes itchy and they told us that they lost many livestock through water from  underground . And now Motse river is dry. This is the river that I used to fetch water from when I was little now the water that flows is from the mine stream. The worse part is they are communities that drink river water like Sekutlong  and many other village.

Day Seven: Teargas  killed a comrade.

On the 6/08/2016  we visited  Modimole village where we met the family of our late comrade Mampuru  who died in 2013 as as a result of inhaling tear gases during  the protest  at Twickenham mine. We manage to interview the mother of his child and his mother and all of them  told us that they where hopping for the best for the son and explained what happened that day when the comrade died.

They where on strike when the police come and dispersed them and they started to run. Com Mampuru and his two friends started to run towards the river but Mampuru did not manage to cross the river because he inhaled too much tear gases, so his friend  started to look for a car to take him home as he was weak. When they get home the mother was not there they but they managed to get in the house. His mother told us she found the son vomiting in the house  and the friends where busy trying assist him and the mother was thinking  maybe he eat something during  the protest maybe poisoned. She hired a car to take him  to a sangoma so that he can take out the poison  but our comrade died on the way.

The mine, Ntona and the council of that time promised the family that they will  come  and take the sister to work  at the mine but  that never happened. Sutter explained how they took her to interview but she did not receive the result, and she explained that during  the meetings  she was attending  with  the mine Ntuna  will  come to her house to take her to the mine, but what surprised her is when they get to the mine she was left outside and only Ntuna and Counsel will met the mine and on their way home they told her that everthing is ok she will  get the job. Even today she is still waiting.