Last week, MEJCON-SA chairperson Mr Elton Thobejane visited the community of Ngwepe located in the Waterberg region of Limpopo province. The small community resides on a farm called “Early Dawn” and is led by their headwoman.
The Waterberg Platinum Mine Joint Venture applied for mining rights over the Ngwepe village in September 2018. If the mining project goes ahead, the community will have to be relocated. A draft environmental impact assessment report indicates that the community’s households fall within the proposed mine area.
The community opposes the mine and does not wish to be relocated.
Prospecting activities by the mine took place illegally, without consulting the community. Fences, grazing land and graves belonging to the community were damaged by the mine during prospecting.
We have been informed that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) instructed the mining company to compensate the community for the damages – but no payment has been made and the community continues to suffer from the damage caused during prospecting.
A joint investigation was conducted by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and DMR, and DWS released a report indicating that the company did not have a water use license prior prospecting activities.
A public participation meeting is scheduled to take place on Friday 2nd in the morning where the environmental authorisation for the new mining permit will be discussed with the community and all interested and affected parties.
The community has asked for assistance from MEJCON-SA and its partners with drafting an objection letter to be submitted after the public participation consultation.
Chairperson of MEJCON-SA Elton Thobejane has furnished the Centre for Environmental Rights with all relevant documents to assist with the letter and will attend the meeting tomorrow (2 August 2019) along with Deputy Chairperson Margaret Molomo.