Tomorrow morning, members of mining affected community networks and civil society groups will travel to the offices of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to hand deliver comments on two important bills.
Statement from the Centre for Applied Legal Studies
Serious concerns regarding about draft amendments to the MPRD Regulations as well as the draft Mine Community Resettlement Guidelines released for public comment over December.
Late last year, just before the December shut down period, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy released two important draft pieces of legislation for public comment.
The Mineral Resources and Petroleum Development Regulations and the Mine Community Resettlement Guidelines were initially open for comment for one month until 27 December 2019 and 4 January 2020 respectively.
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These deadlines were later both extended to 31 January 2020 after pressure from community networks and civil society groups.
Both bills have far-reaching implications for mining affected communities and deserve considered, meaningful engagement.
Releasing them for public comment for a month over December, without proper consultation, shows a disregard for the people the Department is meant to serve and further perpetuates the marginalisation of mining affected communities.
In fact, our courts have recognised communities and community networks as key stakeholders in mining who must be consulted on the laws and policies that affect them.
In addition to the public participation process being flawed, both bills represent a further disregard for mining communities. Neither recognises that communities have a right to free prior and informed consent, to decide whether or not mining should take place, despite the major gains and court victories which have found that they should.
A collective of community networks and civil society groups have thus decided to submit their comments in person and to deliver a list of demands to the Department.
The Centre for Applied Studies (CALS) is a member of this collective and will be present to support this community-driven action.
The demands of the collective are the following: We demand a mining framework which is based on community agency in determining development and the right to free prior and informed consent.
We demand a broad-based public participation process for the draft laws with community networks, civil society organisations and trade unions. We demand that there be no laws or policies allowing resettlement without the consent of each person proposed to be resettled.