Mining Charter issues aired

2018-05-16 06:01
Gwede Mantashe, minister of mineral resources, conducted consultations in a closed session with communities in Kathu with regards to the Mining Charter. The media was not allowed at the discussions.Photo: Lecrecia Prins

Gwede Mantashe, minister of mineral resources, conducted consultations in a closed session with communities in Kathu with regards to the Mining Charter. The media was not allowed at the discussions.Photo: Lecrecia Prins

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Residents of the John Taolo Gaetsewe (JTG) District are in discord after the minister of mineral resources consulted with the mining community.

These consultations were aimed at testing people’s opinion on the Mining Charter before it is finalised.

Gwede Mantashe, minister of mineral resources, said the dead­line for the charter was the end of May.

He is expected to also consult with communities in the Free State and North West.

According to Patrick Masilo, chair­person of the Kuruman unemployment community forum, these consultations are not conducted fairly, because there is no proper dialogue between the minister and the community consultation and information that the programme was taking place in Kathu.

“Many people in the JTG Region did not know about this consultation. The date and venue of the event were changed at the last minute, and no arrangements were made for sufficient transport,” said Masilo.

“The consultation was supposed to be very significant for the community, especially those who will be affected in the villages in Kuruman.

“Yet the topics that were discussed are topics from long ago, and not relevant to recent issues. How can you consult with communities now when about 80% of the Mining Charter is already finalised?”

Nick Visagie, a resident of Kathu, said he found the session very informative.

“The minister said he would come back and give us feedback on the issues that could not be related in the Mining Charter,” said Visagie.

“One of the major issues discussed at the consultation was that people should get local training for trades.

“It was also emphasised that people from the local communities should benefit from local developments.”

According to Mantashe, people are expected to attend these meet­ings, make inputs and give feedback to those who could not attend.

“When there is an issue in a mine, not everyone speaks to the manager. A team of shop stewards will go and speak to the general manager and report back. If we can perfect that system, it will be most effect­ive,” said Mantashe.

He said communities had to be organised to ensure that they were not taken for a ride by people who act on behalf of the community when negotiating with companies.

At the end of the day, they must reap the benefits of the developments.

“We will finalise the charter, but we will also document the issues raised,” Mantashe said.

“Some are operational issues and some are problems members of the community have with mining companies. Those will be documented separately, as they are not part of the charter. These issues are present in every mining community.”

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