Tunatazama - Community Monitors

Community waiting and unsure over new mine

Moshabi Selowa

Tshehlwaneng is an area in Sekhukhune distict under several tribal houses. GaMogashoa is one of the villages in this area under leadership of Mogashoa Ditlhakaneng and Mogashoa Manamane. It is a village rich in heritage but nowadays things are no longer the same like before. People are no longer ploughing the fields of their forefathers. There is a high level of unemployment even if there are two shopping centres at Tshehlwaneng. There are people who work at the nearest mines which are in Fetakgomo Tubatse Local Municipality but most of the people had meetings so that they can find work but things are not clear. Even after blocking of the roads so that busses cannot pass from Jane furse and schonoord to Steelpoort and Bugersfort because they pass at Tshehlwaneng, it is still a problem for them to be given equal access to the job opportunities at the mines as the residents of Sekhukhune district. The roads in the village are damaged terribly and water is a huge problem as some of the people buy water or push wheelbarrows to collect water.

For the past few years there has been negotiations and meetings between the community, the mine people and the tribal houses about a new open cast mine that should be opened at GaMogashoa village. The negotiations started back in 2002 even now the meetings are still happening.
It looks like the community is divided over the mine as some are happy that the mine is coming to their village hoping that life will be better and some are against the idea. Since most of the people are unemployed, they are all waiting to get jobs in the mine but it is an open cast and it looks like it’s going to employ only few people. Some of the household receive SRD grant as their only source of income and odd jobs that comes after a long time.

The area where the mine should open is grazing land for livestock from the village and nearby villages in Tshehlwaneng. If the mine start operating this means that livestock owners won’t be able to take their cattle there. The place have indegineous trees, stones and have names which not only teaches about the history of the village but the heritage of Sekhukhune too.

One of the cattle owners that I spoke to mentioned that no one mentioned anything about their livestock during the community meetings and this means that full information about what will happen once the mine start operating is unknown to some of the villagers. People who have houses closer to the place where mining is going to take place doesn’t know if they should relocate or not and at what terms. The latest meeting that was held people were not happy. From one of the meetings it was mentioned that the mining, if it happens, can take up to 40 years and one can ask himself or herself what will happen. It is not an underground mine but an open cast mine. Will people be forced to relocate like other areas where mining is already happening?

If a new mine is coming people should be given full information about what will happen in their land and community.

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