Tunatazama - Community Monitors

gardens destroyed by the tailing dust

Sphiwe Jokazi

Many unemployed people in snake park make a living by planting vegetables in the backyard and selling them. Some have started huge gardens next to the tailing mine dump because the land is open, and they can grow enough crops. But they are not happy because some of the crops they grow is contaminated by the tailing dust.

They started to farm near the tailing many years ago, and they did not get the land for free because they are paying for it every month. Most vegetable don’t grow well, especially beans and potatoes because they grow underground, and the soil is not fertile but contaminated by the tailing.

Mrs. Ngobeni is a 65-year-old lady who lives with her grandchildren. She started farming Maize in 2010. She says she takes the maize meal to be grinded so that she can send mealie back home in Giyani. Most of the time you will find the maize meal green and red in color, but she still takes it to be grinded anyway because maize meal is expensive, and she has to send 50 kg of maize meal back home. She says they work hard every day planting crops, but they don’t get everything when it is time to harvest, they need the tailing to be rehabilitated because now their health is at risk.

People must be taught about the dangers of tailing and about how harmful it is to the body. We need land for these farmers and the tailing mine dump must be destroyed.