The Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe, joined by officials of the Department of Mineral Resources, visited the eMalahleni mining community on Friday. The visit kick-started a two-month consultation process with mining communities on the Mining Charter.
In his opening address, the minister said “40 days ago, when I was appointed to the Ministry, I made a commitment to go to mining communities across all mining provinces, to listen to the views of the people, not only on the Mining Charter but also on challenges they face with respect to mining.”
Among the key issues he highlighted as tasks arising out of the meeting for the DMR were:
- The responsibility of the DMR to rebuild trust with communities.
- The imperative to attend to where communities are relocated from their land, due to mining operations, to places that are not conducive, lacking in education, electricity, housing and other infrastructure.
- The need to engage mining companies to provide practical experience for students with learnerships and those at TVET colleges.
- The importance of companies respecting communal cemeteries, and ensuring that in the process of relocation the graves are properly marked during the reburial.
- The need for communities to recognise mines as economic areas that should create wealth and opportunities, instead of being adversaries to them.
- The provision of land, in the context of the expropriation of land without compensation, must be for productive use.
- The need for the department to regularly visit mines to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Social and Labour Plans (SLPs) and other legislation.
“We also brought the DMR team to meet and know the community it serves – the communities affected by mining, the mine workers, and the employers. The department should be accessible and be able to inform and assist people where they need help,” the minister added.
Speaking on the consultation process, Minister Mantashe said, “the Mining Charter is a tool of transformation that we have in our hands. As we consult on the Charter, the department must listen and guide discussions.”
Mining communities are encouraged to share their views and ideas, including through sending written comments to the Department, in order to shape the Charter.
In his closing address, the minister reflected on the views shared by members of the community, with emphasis on the need for the department to conduct a thorough research on them in order to understand and respond to them better.