Tunatazama - Community Monitors

Air pollution a thread

Vosman (Emalahleni)
Vusi Mabaso (VEM)

On Wednesday the 5th of August I interviewed Mariah Phahla who have been staying next to the mines for the past Seven years at Vosman in Mpumalanga under Emalahleni local municipality.
Mariah is an unemployed female staying with his husband and a baby boy named Jack. This little boy is one year and four months old. He is born by caesarean as a result of mining operation next door. ‘ At least my child was not prematurely born like most babies in this area ‘ said Mariah.
‘ When they released me from hospital they my child was just fine and healthy but things changed within two months ‘ exclaimed Mariah
Jack’s skin began to be dry ,having rush and always inching. She took him to hospital where they the Dr said she was suffering from eczema. They provided him with bath soap and cream to be mixed with aqueous cream but after six months they told her that this medication is no more available in hospital she must buy it as a parent.
Unfortunately the medication is found in pharmacy through prescription for two months. The third month she is supposed to return to the Dr for consultation through the help of family members.
The husband was a contractor employee under the mine in Phola but due to Covid 19 Pandemic he was retrenched meaning he is unemployed and no income to his family except the R440 grant from Sassa.
‘ My husband was a bread winner but this pandemic has cost him a job and us the income ‘ said Mariah.

‘ We are pulling very hard I wish you as a organization can help us talk to the government to relocate us from Vosman and put us in a place where there’s no mining operations , because the Dr said the place is not good for us but especially Jack ‘ said Mariah

On Tuesday the 4th of August I interviewed Sophie Simelane who is a neighbour to the mines pilling at Vosman in Mpumalanga under Emalahleni municipality.
Sophie has been staying at Vosman from 2014. Sophie is unemployed despite the fact that she stay next to the mine. When asked why her neighbour is not giving her the job she said no one is allowed at the mine premises except the structure people who are eating whatever the mine is giving for the community. ‘They can kill you if you force entering the mine ‘ said Sophie. She has a female kid named Surprise who was born prematurely as the result of mining next door. Sophie was surprised and wanted answers why she had a premature baby but the Dr told her that this is the result of mining operation which is causing air pollution and noise from the mine, meanwhile in hospital they said she had high blood pressure that’s the reason she had to be taken to theatre for caesarean premature birth.
This news were new from her as all she was suffering from was sinus not hbp, all she can remember is that when she was three months pregnant she was told she had high blood pressure signs.
The husband who is a heavy truck driver at SG Coal transport is also suffering from sinus.
In the beginning of lockdown the husband was lucky not to be retrenched but to be transferred to deliver coal at Medupe power station. Sophie complained that this LOCKDOWN caused by corona virus 19 has made life difficult for her as her husband is now working far and the child has got lot of problems, she is always in and out of hospital. The little girl surprise is attending physio in hospital after three months so that she will gain strength in her body and bones.

‘ If the government or the mines can relocate us and put us in a place that is well developed and free from air pollution I can be the first to move with clean heart ‘ said Sophie