#Eight mine in Klerksdorp is asked to employ local people, and not migrants

Story by Petrus Moshe, Coordinator for justice and peace commission, Klerksdorp diocese

In March this year in Kanana township, angry youth took their frustrations to the street on the issue of unemployment, for them to be noticed protested illegally, the action did not end well, some got arrested and others shot by police with rubber bullets. They demanded employment at number 10# and 8#. They complained about fraud, bribes, that are taking place within the mines by mining officials.

Mostly during windy days it is time when you will realize that health of the community and the animals are compromised because the dust that comes from the mine becomes unbearable. It is not a surprise to discover that people got sick of T.B, sinuses, and asthma, lung infection and allergies quite often due to the inhaling of the mine dust.

There are many houses which are cracked due to blasting. The are many people who are complaining about their cracked walls, during the earthquake this year kanana and Khuma township suffered from their houses cracked.

Seeking solutions…

After the youth protest demanding employment, a series of meetings of meetings begun. The mine management intentionally prolonged the beginning of these meetings, but at the end they advised the youth to elect those who will represent them at the meetings. The results of these meetings were that that the mine agreed to stop employing people from far places. The mine will first employ about 200 of these youth. Then it will further employ more and more youth as time goes on. From these engagements, the kanana unemployment forum was established to monitor the mines and ensure that it keeps its promise.

For many years, the issue of cracked houses has always been a battle at the ward meetings. The councillors often dodge the issue.   They always promise to consult the municipality and offer us a feedback.   They never do. For years, the problem remains unresolved.

With respect to the mine dust with affects community during windy days, no actions has been made to hold the mine accountable.


The current and future plans

We are mobilizing the members of justice and peace groups in the community to be part of the solution. They will have to work closely with the existing structures (kanana unemployment forum). Their role will be to feed the forum with the information about the problems that the community is facing.

The municipality will be one of the key stakeholders to deal with the problem of the cracked houses due to blasting in mining. The mines, number 10# and 08#, will be engaged into meetings to discuss about problems on air pollution and find solutions to all other problems including unemployment and cracked houses.

Our appeal as community to be included in the value chain

There are a lot of things in the supply chain that could be undertaken by the community. This include security, cleaning, plumbing etc.   All these tasks have been given to the big companies in the Klerksdorp industrial site and Uraniaville industrial site. Most of these companies are owned by elite blacks. Few black people are benefiting from the equity transformation of our mines. Amongst things that the mine should have done was to provide the local communities members with enterprise development skills in terms of engineering, plumbing, electrical and IT.   They would then open their own businesses that would provide such services to the mines.

Some remarks

We believe that if the mine takes responsibility in terms of employment the community members will be economically viable, the human dignity will be restored, free from poverty and all will be having a plate of bread at the table. Their right to the environment which is not harmful, and proper housing will not be an issue.