Come-ACT (Communities in Mining and Environmental Activism) is based in Burgersfort.
Change Project: Rules for good guests - how host communities can hold mines accountable, by Elton Thobejane and Provia Sekome.
Description: Twickenham mine is a large open pit platinum mine owned by Anglo American Platinum, about 40 km away from Burgersfort in the Greater Tubatse Municipality, Limpopo. It falls within the middle catchment of the Olifants River. The village of Morapaneng, which is situated between the Twickenham and Hackney shafts of the Twickenham mine, is deeply affected by the mining activities nearby, through the mines impact on water, air, roads, social cohesion and more . Come-ACT has decided to focus on the issue of corporate compliance - to what extent is the mine keeping to its obligations in terms of the Social and Labour Plans and other commitments it has made to the community? Another way of asking this question is: is the mine being a good guest, and treating its hosts, in this case the Morapaneng community, with respect and care? And if not - how can the hosts hold their guest accountable for their bad behaviour?
Extract from Come-Act's Assignment 1:
"The entire community relies on one borehole and the nearby Motse river as sources of water, almost all the bore holes in the village have dried up...The access roads to the village are also dusty and un-driveable making it very difficult for the communities to access services such as health care and many others. The only tarred road which is linking the two shafts is also heavily potholed and no one seem to care about its impact on road users and the nearby communities, especially young people who endanger their lives on a daily basis trying to fill in the potholes with sands because they see it as an economic opportunity... there is little to show for this community’ portion of benefit for the mining activities happening in their land.
As we walked around the neighbouring villages we realised that the houses are cracked in almost every household, people are trying to grow vegetables such as spinach, sweet potatoes and tomatoes but the products are not of good quality and we suspect that it is because of the poor water quality. The relocated graves and tombstones are falling apart, people were forcefully relocated to areas where the land is not suitable for human habitation. One could feel the heartbeat of a community that is betrayed, divided, impotent but angry towards the mining company.
We then decided to request access to information pertaining to the operation (Social and Labour Plans and its Annual reports, the Water Use Licence and Environmental Impact Assessment reports) through the Promotion of Access to Information Act of 2000 from the relevant departments, so that we are more able to monitor, assess, hold the mine to account and enforce compliance"
4 September 2017: COMMUNITY ORGANISATION TAKING INITIATIVE AGAINST THE MINE"The two community based organisations Come Act and SCMAC are collaborating to challenge the Twickenham mine regarding the disposal of the reserves as it continues even today.The two organisations have submitted a PAIA application to the DMR to request the maintenance plan and the agreement with the DMR. We also requested their new Mine Works programme because Care and Maintenance is actually a part of the Mine Works programme .Legal Resources Center has also written a letter on our behalf to the mine to request clarity and supporting documents."
Keep up the great work Come-Act. Your findings about how the host community of Morapaneng can hold their guests - the Twickenham mine - accountable, will be extremely useful for many other host communities.