The community of Kraalhoek, which is situated in Moses Kotane Local Municipality, in the North West Province have embarked on a rolling protest against mining company whose activities affect their community. Kalaka Mining started operating in Kraalhoek village in 1986 by the name Latilla Mineral Resources (LMR) and despite its long history in community it has only employed 8 people, inclusive of the contractor, and its operations barely benefit the community at large.
Some of the major concerns raised by the community are in relation to Kalaka Mining’s operations in Kraalhoek without due and proper consultations with the community. Community members have been complaining about the open pits which are not fenced off, where children from the community are swimming and often time livestock such as cattle fall into these open pits and as a result, die. The community has also not been provided with clear information about where the mine area starts and ends, so that proper access controls can be put in place to ensure the safety of the community. The community also have concerns around access to drinking water which often times has dust in it and is limey due to mining operations and the lack of much needed mitigating measures. This has unfortunately resulted in an immediate and urgent threat to the health and safety of the community. All this is under the backdrop of the community requesting DMRE to conduct on-site inspections, health and safety audits in the community, and provide them with the Mine’s current SLP as well as compliance reports from its previous SLP’s. In addition, the community has requested without success, that the DMRE ensures that the mines next SLP is formulated within the framework of public consultations with the affected community.
A process of conducting a Social Audit on the compliance of the mine with its SLP obligations was undertaken in 2021 by the Kraalhoek MACUA branch, based on its 2015-2020 SLP, and it was found that Kalaka Mining had not implemented any of the projects stated therein. A new SLP for the 2021-2025 cycle has not been produced by the mining company or the DMRE to date which is contrary to the requirements for the renewal of a mining right. This non-compliance by the mine was brought to the attention of DMRE, but the operations of the mine were not curbed by this failure to comply with the MPRDA and its regulations. On the 17th of February 2022, a letter was sent to DMRE requesting intervention by the DMRE, as well as an inspection of the Kalaka mine site in Kraalhoek around the directly affected communities, in particular Pote, Matebeleng, Maseilane, and Morago ga Thaba. This was done after the community has tried to communicate directly with the mine on various occasions, but the mine has proven to be unreliable and untrustworthy. Kalaka Mining have been previously been invited to meetings by the community, which they failed to attend unless the community acts or takes action. After protest action then one of the directors would meet with the community and offer what the community describes as empty promises before leaving.
As a result of the various complaints against Kalaka Mining and continued non-compliance, the community has called on the DMRE, to include the Health and Safety Department, the Regional Manager and his department responsible for monitoring of the SLP’s, to do proper inspections, safety audits and to provide the community with answers urgently. However until today DMRE has failed to conduct proper checks and balances on the issues raised by the Kraalhoek Community. According to Kraalhoek community members, Kalaka Mining has now been sold to Afrimat despite the existent unresolved issues with Kalaka Mining. The process of selling the mine was effected to the exclusion of the affected community in which the mine is operating, and none of the community members, inclusive of local traditional councils, have been consulted in relation to the selling of Kalaka mine to Afrimat.
Issues raised by the community which are yet to be resolved by both Kalaka Mining and DMRE are as follows:
- Lack of procurement from local communities by the mine.
- Lack of job recruitment and work opportunities for the local community.
- Lack of a Trust for community development and benefit.
- Company being sold without consulting the community or allowing the community to have an input with regard to the sale of the mine.
- Mining license given to the mining company without community consent.
- Lack of community development since the operation of the mine due to non-compliance in the terms of the SLP.
- Community members have been complaining about the open pits which are not fenced off resulting to a threat to the community.
- Communities of Pote, Matebeleng, Maseilane, Morago ga thaba are affected by the dust from the mining activities which is going into their houses and nothing has been done about it.
- Water that the community consume is full of lime which negatively impacts their health, and damages their electronic appliances.
The Regional Manager reported that the DMRE did indicate that an inspection of Kalaka Mining would take place, however on the date of the inspection Kalaka Mining did not avail the relevant parties needed to engage on the matter. It was agreed that another inspection would be arranged wherein all parties involved would avail themselves, however despite follow ups by the Kraalhoek Community no follow up visit has been arranged by DMRE and the issues of the community remain unresolved. In the midst of the unresolved issues, the company was sold to Afrimat, but the challenges of the community remain unaddressed. It therefore appears in this regard that mines no longer fear any kind of legal consequences that would derive from non-compliance on SLP obligations and the regulator is not willing or able to enforce the laws which are meant to protect the interests of mining affected communities, opting rather to protect the interests of profit seeking mines above the interests and well-being of the communities in which the mines are operating.
For further information please contact:
Gilbert Moela – Media and Communication Officer MACUA WAMUA Advice Office: 079 777 6175
Nicholas Legodi – Kraalhoek MACUA Branch Coordinator: 0875387302
Phyllia Ngaotje – Lead of MACUA WAMUA Advice Office Paralegal Unit: 071 362 9365
Meshack Mbangula – National Coordinator of MACUA: 0749775588
Nester Ndebele –National Convenor of WAMUA: 0832695705
Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA) is a National Movement representing and advancing the rights and interests of mine-affected communities across eight provinces of South Africa. The network is made up of branches across the country and advocates for communities to be granted a greater say in issues that affect their human rights and which they believe is denied to them in current regulations governing the mining sector.
Women Affected by Mining United in Action (WAMUA) is an official national platform formed within MACUA with the purpose of advancing the rights and interests of women in mining affected communities. WAMUA aims to advance and support women in mining affected communities to strengthen their participation in community decision making processes and influencing local, provincial and national policy and legislative process in the mining sector.