South Africa: Communities Demand More Benefits From Mines in Their Towns

About 200 people attended a summit hosted by Mining Affected…


About 200 people attended a summit hosted by Mining Affected Communities United in Action in Pretoria

  • About 200 people from mining-affected communities attended the summit by Mining Affected Communities United in Action on Wednesday.
  • The event coincided with the Mining Indaba underway in Cape Town this week.
  • The residents are calling for more effort from the government and mining companies to develop their communities and include their voices in decision making.

People living in mining-affected communities across South Africa gathered at a summit hosted by the Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA) in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Most of them are demanding that the government ensures that communities benefit meaningfully from mines established where they live.

The inaugural summit, attended by about 200 people, coincides with the Mining Indaba underway in Cape Town this week. This, according to MACUA’s national coordinator Meshack Mbangula, was no coincidence.

“While government is busy engaging only with business people about mining, the very communities that are affected by mining activities have been left out. So we are holding this summit to create a platform for communities to voice and discuss the issues they face,” he said.

Mbangula said he hoped that MACUA would not only be invited to attend the Mining Indaba, but included in the organising processes to ensure that there is a platform for communities to engage with mining companies and government.

Attendees from across the country lamented the failure of mining companies to develop communities and to create better employment opportunities. In so doing, attendees say, this is a failure to implement the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA).

One of the aims of this Act, which came into effect in 2004, was to secure the uplifting of communities located near mines.

Nthabiseng Mahlumba, who travelled to the summit from Virginia in the Free State, said her community had barely anything to show despite several mines operating there. The few programmes in the gold mining town are not very accessible to most residents.

“Virginia is surrounded by many mines but today it is one of the poorest areas in the country,” she said.

Mahlumba said their high unemployment rate was frustrating to community members who are also bearing the brunt of the mines’ environmental degradation.

Attendees from other mining-affected communities also voiced similar challenges to Mahlumba.