100 signatures reached
To: Minister of Environmental Affairs: Bomo Edna Molewa and Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane
Secure and rehabilitate disused mines
We, the undersigned call on you Minister Molewa and Minister Zwane to work together and enforce the National Environmental Management Act on all mining companies even those that have since left and make sure that they stick to their commitment to safely secure and rehabilitate the land after mining has been completed.
Why is this important?
Mining communities' lives are in danger. Recently a young boy, Richard, aged 5 fell inside an neglected, uncovered mine shaft and has not been found since. His mother has been crying since the accident, all she wants is her child's body.
South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources, holds a list of 6,000 "derelict and ownerless" mines, which became the government’s problem over the years when the former owners disappeared. The Department of Mineral Resources must work very closely with the Department of Environmental Affairs before awarding closure certificates to these mining companies.
Rehabilitation plans ought to be submitted and approved by the authorities before any mining activity can start, and that finances must be set aside for this purpose. However, it looks like this is not happening and some mining houses close down and leave the state to foot the bill for the clean-up costs.
We know that communities who live in these areas are predominantly Black and of low income households. The former apartheid government placed many settlements near or even on top of the mining waste dumps but this does not mean that their lives are not valuable. It is upon all of us as Mzansi citizens to put pressure on these Departments to hold these mining companies accountable by vigorously enforcing the NEMA (National Environmental Management Act) from the initial prospecting phase to the closure of mine operations.