Communities not benefiting from mining

Boitumelo Babuseng, MPL

DA Provincial Spokesperson on Economic Affairs

The DA is concerned that communities in the Northern Cape do not derive adequate benefit from mining activities, due to the fact that labour and social plans are not being implemented optimally.

The Northern Cape has enormous mining potential. In 2012, for example, Stats SA indicates that the province has generated R73 billion in mining-related income. The Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act obligates mines to develop social and labour plans, which should be implemented in the regions where they operate. But if you go to Daniëlskuil and Lime Acres in the Kgatelopele municipality, you will not be able to find evidence of any social and labour plan on the ground. You will not see that mining is beneficial to the community.

The Kgatelopele municipality has an unemployment rate of 22%. People are living in poverty while the mines fail to implement their social and labour plans.

In Postmasburg, Kumba Iron Ore established a Super Trust which works with the Tsantsabane Community Development Trust to the exclusion of all others. The Tsantsabane Community Development Trust is filled with members who have vested interests in mining and do not necessarily have the community’s interests at heart. In fact, the community in Tsantsabane has not accepted the Tsantsabane Community Development Trust as their chosen representative.

Rather than give money to the government to buy ambulances and bail out municipalities that are in financial distress, mines should be guided by their social and labour plans. They should play a crucial role in the upliftment of communities.

The DA calls on the provincial government to ensure that the Mining Charter and the Mining Procurement Charter are being implemented fully in the Northern Cape. Mining must be to the benefit of the many, not of the politically connected few.