By Adv Boitumelo Babuseng, MPL, DA Constituency Head for Daniëlskuil:
The Democratic Alliance calls on the department of Environment and Nature Conservation to step in at the Daniëlskuil region and to issue compliance notices, where needed, in terms of the National Environmental Management Act and its regulations.
This comes after several complaints from the community in Daniëlskuil on the impact of air pollution on their health and wellbeing.
Section 24 of the South African constitution gives every person the right to a clean environment. When mines do not follow the prescribed environmental regulations, the right of a community to a clean environment is violated.
It is believed that the operations of Daniëlskuil Steenwerke, Tempo Steenwerke and the mines in the area can cause health problems, especially respiratory health problems. This includes the prevalence of tuberculosis, which can be worsened by thick clouds of dust hanging in the air.
Earlier this month, the Bench Marks Foundation released their findings on health issues in the community surrounding the Kumba Iron Ore Mine in Sishen. The Foundation stated that, while the mine contributes to the health infrastructure in the community, community members are still suffering from chronic ailments due to the mine’s operations in the area.
The mines have monitoring stations which provide information on air quality and we are told that they share the information quite freely with the department. It should be very easy to assess the situation and to determine who the culprits are.
The Democratic Alliance believes that every person is entitled to a clean environment, no matter how close or how far you live from a mine.