Anthony Benadie MPL
Spokesperson on Finance, Economic Development & Tourism:
The DA would like to welcome the appointment of Abe Sibiya to head the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA’s) Biodiversity Conservation Division.
The DA does however call on him to immediately familiarise himself with the Marloth Park Mining Application saga, as a number of residents and local organisations were excluded from the Interested & Affected Parties (I&AP) consultation process.
The purpose of the consultation process is to provide landowners or occupiers with the necessary information on everything that is to be done, as well as engage with the landowners, to see whether some accommodation is possible between the applicant and the landowner for a prospecting right insofar as the interference with the landowner‘s rights to use the property is concerned. This process further allows I&AP to formally object to the granting of the prospecting right as per section 10 (2) of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002 (MPRDA)
The applicant must also conduct public participation and consult with the land owner or lawful occupier and any other affected party and submit the result of the consultation within 30 days from the date of the notice, which would then determine the success or failure of the application to the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR).
The DA is of the opinion that this consultation process was never followed, and it remains a mystery as to why the DMR granted the mining application to begin with.
It is important to note that the DA is not opposed to mining in the province as the industry is a huge job creator for our people. What the DA is opposed to is the non-adherence to relevant legislation.
Residents of Marloth Park are currently up in arms opposing the plans for an iron ore mine right to their town. This was after a company named South Africa (Pty) Ltd applied for mining prospecting rights on sections of land in Nkomazi.
The resident’s objection to the mining company is based on the following points:
– The proposed prospecting sites include a protected area, the Kruger National Park.
– Proposed portions for prospecting are within the 10km of the KNP’s buffer zone.
– The proposed prospecting site is within an ecological support area and the Crocodile River, which makes it illegal to mine there.
According to DA sources within the Marloth Park Residents Association, one public consultation meeting recently took place, where it was mentioned that two of the three applications have been withdrawn and that the last application is currently being adjusted. But residents are still awaiting official confirmation.
The DA calls on Sibiya to monitor the situation and ensure that the views of the Interested & Affected Parties are taken into consideration.
The residents (of Marloth Park) are also arguing that mining in the area will also affect the animals in the Park’s own game reserve, Lionspruit, which is home to four of the big five.
Mpumalanga’s natural beauty is the main reason why tourists from all over the world come to the province, and the DA will do all it can to ensure that it remains in this condition for generations to come.