Tunatazama - Community Monitors


Thabang Ndweni

Thabang Ndweni
Snake Park ward 50
City of Johannesburg
Gauteng Province


Post mining in our community of Snake Park is one of the many challenges that we face, particularly from the mine tailing dam that is very close to communities. Mine tailings are built as a result of mining and refining precious metals such as gold. They can be a health hazard, moreover when they are left unrehabilitated and affecting poor communities.

Our community is living near big industries that are not providing employment to them, this is an act of desperation. Residents become vulnerable and oblivious to the dangers that they expose themselves to by living next to the tailing dams. Oblivious also to the fact that their rights to clean and safe environment are being violated, tailing dams have become a socio-environmental issue. Community members are being exposed to heavy metal pollution at an alarming rate, and in recent years the exposure has worsened. Given the high rate of unemployment and a number of unemployed youth who are trapped in the circle of poverty around areas such as Snake Park. Each day throughout all seasons they witness the degeneration of the environment, and one can conclude that there’s a high exposure to heavy metal pollution.

Heavy metal pollution can be referred to as all the disposed minerals that are lying abundantly on those tailing dams, such as copper, iron and sulfur. These heavy metals are blown by the wind and sometimes carried by rainwater that flows from the tailing dams. That poses a high risk to people who live next to these dams, and they contain high levels of radiation that affects someone’s DNA over a long period.

Heavy metal pollution is a serious environmental issue and should be considered as the main culprit when it comes to man made socio-environmental factors. There is no enough effort by community leaders to bring awareness and address this problem. Mine tailings undermines and violating the basic human right of access to clean and safe environment. Unrehabilitated mine tailings should be an issue of the past, given the fact that communities such as Snake Park are considered to be post mining communities.