Resistance against mining applications

Landowners on Silkaatsnek and the surrounding De Wildt area have been inundated with mining and prospecting applications and a recent public participation meeting turned sour when the meeting took a confrontational and political tone.

The public participation meeting turned confrontational and landowners left.

Landowners gathered at the former Silkaatsnek Primary School premises last Saturday for a meeting with regards to mining applications by Moesha Mining and Modison Mining on four farms in the area. During a previously scheduled meeting, the conveners of the meeting did not pitch up.

Shortly after the second scheduled meeting commenced, it was discovered that the ‘Environmental Assessment Practitioner (EAP), Moses Mushi, is in fact the director of one of the mines that lodged the applications. This is against NEMA regulations.

To further confuse the issue, it came to light that the reputable company, Quality Environmental Management Solutions, supposedly appointed to do the basic assessment report (BAR) and public participation process, is in fact not involved in the process at all. When affected landowners asked why the director of the company, Dr Patrick Sithole, was not at the meeting, they were told by Mushi that “he (Dr. Sithole) is scared of white people.” The meeting took another turn when taxis arrived with residents from Mmakau and other areas.

The meeting turned chaotic soon after, and when the conveners wanted to delegate one of the new arrivals as chairman, and an elderly gentleman was pushed around, landowners requested that the meeting be closed and left the premises.

Following the meeting, Kormorant spoke to Dr. Sithole, whose name and a supposed email address, were used during correspondence with affected landowners. He denied being involved in the process. “Besides an initial approach by the company, I have not been involved. The email address also does not belong to me,” he said.

In further correspondence with an affected party, he said he has already sought legal advice on the matter. “From an I&AP/ Stakeholder engagement perspective, my advice is that you ensure that every process is followed accordingly, especially in sensitive areas like the Magaliesberg Biosphere area,” he wrote.

In answer to questions from Kormorant regarding Dr. Sithole’s alleged involvement in the process, Mushi said ” As I have mentioned to you, I would like to let the issue about the EAP rest as we have appointed a new EAP. Do what you deem fit with that information, I will not entertain you or anyone anymore in that regard.”

According to Belinda Cooper, the Magaliesberg Biosphere coordinator, Mushi has to date not supplied the relevant documentation needed for interested and affected parties to submit their comments on the application. “She has also not furnished us with proof of acceptance of an application for any right, permission, permit or consent in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002. An independent and experienced EAP must manage the process and conduct public participation. This meeting was not legal,” Cooper said.