JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Community organisation Mining Affected Communities United in Action (Macua) on Wednesday said it rejected Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe’s “sham” community consultation process.
Macua national coordinator Meshack Mbangula said mining affected communities have still not been afforded an opportunity to participate in negotiations on any version of the Mining Charter, despite being a directly interested and affected party.
Women Affected by Mining United in Action (Wamua), which is part of Macua, national coordinator Nester Ndebele added that it is regrettable that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and Mantashe’s team still continue to reduce communities to rubber stampers of elite deals with the Chamber of Mines and other stakeholders.
Ndebele insisted that the “whole thing is calculated to further impoverish communities, while the usual suspects [get] rich off the community suffering.”
The deep levels of disdain and contempt displayed by government towards communities, forced the organisations, together with the Mining and Environmental Justice Community Network of South Africa and four other community groups, to approach the courts to affirm their status as relevant and interested stakeholders who should be consulted on the formulation of the charter, Macua stated.
Court records from February stated that the Minister, through its legal counsel, did recognise and affirm the communities as interested and relevant stakeholders, which should be consulted on the charter’s formulation process.
“Yet the Mineral Resources Ministry has not complied with its own commitment to a court of law, as the communities have not been engaged in any discussions on the formulation of the charter,” said Macua.
Instead, Macua was informed through the media, that Mantashe reported to mine owners that the charter is 80% complete and will be gazetted in May.
Macua conceded that Mantasha has been arranging community consultations in all provinces, but claims that only select organisations and groupings are invited; that only two days’ notice is given; and that venues are changed without notice.
Macua and Wamua plan to attend the next meetings on April 12 and April 13, in the Lephalale municipality and the Tubatse municipality, respectively.
Meanwhile, the DMR on Wednesday said the process of consultations continues with mining communities.
“These engagements are aimed at getting mining communities involved in making inputs to the charter before it is finalised and gazetted,” it stated.