Miners plead for land

2016-10-05 06:00
HENERY FITZ-PATRICK (with the white cap), is a small-scale miner who raised his mining concerns with former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe during a meeting.  Photo: Boipelo Mere

HENERY FITZ-PATRICK (with the white cap), is a small-scale miner who raised his mining concerns with former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe during a meeting. Photo: Boipelo Mere

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HENERY FITZ-PATRICK hopes his plea to goverment for the lifting of the Moratorium Act of 2004 will be implemented.

According to him, the increased price is too expensive for small-scale miners, who are still expected to spend thousands of rands on further mining rights processses.

He pleaded with former president Kgalema Motlanthe to address the plight of the poor when it comes to mining on their own land.

Fitz-Patrick was amongst the delegates who gave input at the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change public hearings at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre on Wednesday, 21 September.

The engagement was chaired by Motlanthe and his panel.

An elderly woman, carrying documentation of proof, asked for the house that was promised to her in 2013.

The concerns raised by Fitz-Patrick were about the large amount of money expected to be paid to apply for a mining permit. He elaborated on the procedures that small-scale miners have to follow to be granted a mere five hectares of land to perform spade and shovel mining.

His complaint was that the communities are not given a fair chance and an opportunity to grow, due to the fact that they do not make much.

He highlighted that once the permit is granted for such a small piece of land, the land owner struggles to get investors on board due to the land size.

“Investors lost interest once they realise the size of the land. This way our hands are tied from creating job opportunities and improving our lives,” emphasised Fitz-Patrick.

That, according to him, is the result of land owners sitting with their permits until it expires or bigger companies robbing communities of the riches of the land.

These laws, delays and red tape are contradicting government declarations that it wants the poor to benefit from the riches of the land.

“Instead of the social upliftment measures, these legislations leave us deprived of our minerals. We understand the laws that are meant to protect the environment, but to be honest, only the rich can meet the conditions easily.”

He said the Department of Minerals and Energy interacts with communities many times, but continue to drag its feet in terms of implementation to help the people.

“It is no wonder that women, who are also usually encouraged to venture into mining, end up giving up hope,” expressed the small-scale miner.

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