Highveld Environmental Justice Network
groundWork (Friends of the Earth South Africa)

COMMUNITIES CALL FOR CRACK DOWN ON COAL ACTIVITIES - Communities meet top officials at DMR and Kuyasa Mining

eMalahleni, Mpumalanga, South Africa, 25 March 2015 – Earlier today, the Department of Mineral Resoures’s (DMR) Mining Economist Ntshele Phasha and Kuyasa Mining’s Director Ayanda Bam were met by approximately 250 peaceful marchers from the Highveld Environmental Justice Network (HEJN) [1] and signed the Network’s memorandum outlining the lived realities of communities living next to coal mines and coal-fired power stations. 

We live with and have first-hand experience of the devastation of coal mining and coal fired facilities.  Ours is a voice that has been for far too long ignored for the benefit of corporate profit derived from coal,” the memorandum states [2].

Kuyasa Mining’s subsidiary KiPower is proposing a 600MW (to be increased to 2000MW) coal-fired power station for Delmas. This was the main target for the march as the Highveld is already recognised as a heavily polluted area and does not need another polluting power station. The DMR was addressed as it interacts with Kuyasa Mining and all other mining companies, an important target as people suffer daily from the impacts of mines on their health, water and agricultural land. 

As requested, HEJN and groundWork [3] yesterday met with officials at the DMR. After explaining HEJN’s environmental and social concerns behind the march, Samuel Matavhela, Regional Coordinator of the DMR stated that “well mining will continue to be issued in this country as it is the backbone of this country”, brushing aside people’s right to an environment that is not harmful to their health and well-being. 

The two organisations were informed that Kuyasa Mining’s Final Environmental Impact Assessment Report for KiPower coal-fired power station was rejected by the Department of Environmental Affairs on 4 February 2015. The consultants (Jones and Wagener) only made stakeholders aware of this on 24 March, yesterday. HEJN is calling on Kuyasa to scrap the KiPower proposal completely and for government to speak with communities directly, not through consultants.
Both parties agreed to meet HEJN’s request for a response within 14 working days.

FOOTNOTES

[1] The following affiliates make up the Highveld Environmental Justice Network: Mpumalanga Youth Against Climate Change (MYACC), eKhurleni Environmental Organisation (EEO), Schoongesicht Residents’ Association (SRC), Greater Middelburg Residents’ Association (GMRA), Wonderfontein Resettlement Forum (WRF), Earthnogenesis, and Association for Environmental Defence (AED).
[2] See memorandum here.
[3] groundWork is an environmental justice organisation working with community people from around South Africa, and increasingly Southern Africa, on environmental justice and human rights issues focusing on Coal, Climate and Energy Justice, Waste and Environmental Health. groundWork is the South African member of Friends of the Earth International.

 

CONTACT

Highveld Environmental Justice Network:
Nomcebo Makhubelo
Coordinator
Tel (m): +27 (0) 72 120 1626

Thomas Mnguni
Tel (m): +27 (0) 83 555 0549 / +27 (0) 72 449 5655
Email: greatermiddelburgra@gmail.com

groundWork:
Megan Lewis
Media and Communciations Manager
Tel (m): +27 (0) 83 450 5541
Email: megan@groundwork.org.za

Robby Mokgalaka
Coal Campaigner
Tel (m): +27 (0) 73 774 3362
Email: robs@groundwork.org.za