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12 Feb 2024

Julia Evans, Daily Maverick

S. Africa: Hundreds of mining affected communities march to the Department of Mineral Resources to demand consultation about mining operations

‘Nothing about us, without us,’ mining-affected communities demand in protest outside DMRE offices’ 8 February 2024

Mining-affected communities from across SA gathered outside the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy head offices in Tshwane on Thursday, demanding that they be included in the decision-making about mining in their communities and that they be allowed to share the socioeconomic benefits. Hundreds of people from mining towns across the country gathered in the blistering heat outside the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) head office in Tshwane on Thursday, 8 February 2024, to demand that they be consulted about what mining operations were allowed in their communities. “Nothing about us, without us,” they chanted.

…Mining Affected Communities United in Action (Macua) and several supporting organisations were demanding that the MPRDA be scrapped, so that communities can have prior and informed consent about what mining operations take place on their land, and that they receive the social and economic benefits that are derived from these projects. Meshack Mbangula, national coordinator of Macua, told Daily Maverick that the high levels of unemployment in mining towns was evidenced by the fact that hundreds of people travelled from Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape, Free State and North West to express their frustration to the DMRE.

…“You wake up in the morning, there’s a mine behind your next-door neighbour, and you’ve not been consulted,” Mbangula said. “And you cannot take the mine to court.” Sebei said that through the MPRDA, “for 30 years they’ve [DMRE] facilitated a colonial-style land dispossession of those that were dispossessed under apartheid.” By law, the state is the custodian of all mineral resources, even on private land, and Mantashe has the sole right to grant mineral rights and access – which has been a huge issue of concern for many landowners sitting on profitable minerals. “They are exploiting our labour for the enrichment of them and their investors in London, in China, in Canada, in Australia and everywhere else other than our communities,” Sebei said.