Zululand mining:  Excuses are an insult to people of KZN

Ann McDonnell, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Conservation and Environmental Affairs

The recent “slap on the wrist” fine of R497 000 served on Zululand Anthracite Colliery for sinking three extra shafts without authorisation is an insult to the people of KZN who respect the environment and legislation that governs its protection.

Just as bad is mining company Rio Tinto’s excuse that the sinking of the shafts was an administration oversight.

The Centre for Environmental Rights has made the statement that “non-compliance with Environmental Legislation is easier, cheaper and quicker that compliance”.

In other words, it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

The Centre also estimates that at the time the illegal shafts were used, profits exceeded R105 million.  On this basis alone, the maximum legislated amount of a R1 million fine for each of the 12 alleged transgressions should have been enforced.

The Democratic Alliance strongly condemns any infringement of the National Environmental?Management Act or its precursors.

We call on KZN’s Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, as the custodian of our heritage, to come down hard on profit-driven abuse of our environmental inheritance.