Hearings into mining community problems resume

2016-09-26 07:54

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Johannesburg – The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) hearings into the socio-economic conditions in mining communities are expected to resume in Johannesburg on Monday.

"Significant levels of poverty, inequality and poor service delivery persist in mining-affected communities," SAHRC spokesperson Alucia Sekgathume said in a statement.

Growing discontent among miners, trade unions, and mining communities had sparked waves of strikes and protests in the sector over the past few years, resulting in a decline of the country's GDP and shaken investor confidence, she said.

The strikes had "devastating" effects on communities. When miners were not paid, local businesses struggled to survive and workers were often forced to take out loans which they struggled to repay.

Submissions would be made by the Department of Rural Development, the Chamber of Mines, various municipalities and mining companies. The hearings were intended to identify policies, regulations, and other interventions to help those affected.

Hearings would be held on Monday and Wednesday. On Monday there would be submissions from the department, the Chamber of Mines, the Emakhazeni, Victor Khayne and Emalahleni local municipalities (all in Mpumalanga), the Mtubatuba local municipality in KwaZulu-Natal, and from companies Mbuyelo Group, Wescoal Mining, and Petmin.

Earlier this month, City Press reported that at the previous round of hearings, the SAHRC heard allegations of mining companies not sustaining the rights of communities and of a lack of effective government intervention.

Mining Affected Communities United in Action (Macua) made a submission in which they alleged that water near mining activities had become polluted and unsafe for human consumption, and that companies were not being held to account.

Macua represents 100 communities through 70 organisations.

The panel would compile a report after all hearings have concluded.

Read more on:    sahrc  |  mining

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