Disaffected communities have been protesting outside the provincial Mining Investment Conference in Rustenburg in the North West. Communities are complaining about not benefitting from mining companies operating on their land.
The Department of Mineral Resources is hosting the two-day conference.
North West Mining Investment Conference – Day 2 programme pic.twitter.com/8mqHaMTMpI
— Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (@DMRE_ZA) January 25, 2022
Demonstrating Rustenburg community members say they are unhappy about being excluded from the conference. They also complain that they do not benefit from mining activities in their areas.
“We are not here to fight. We want ntate Gwede to come outside and address us as a community,” says a community member.
“We have been sending memorandums to the regional office in Klerksdorp. to different DMR officials. We always got the same response. But until this day we have not got even a single response. None of us here has benefitted,” adds another community member.
“The youth is unemployed and the mines are not doing anything for us,” says another community member.
The group later stormed into the venue, demanding to talk to the Minister. He eventually went to meet the protesters. He asked them to arrange a proper meeting where they can talk about their grievances.
Addressing the conference, Mantashe called on the mines to adhere to social labour plans.
“Social labour plans must help communities develop. It doesn’t mean that every mining company must build a community hall and another one build a sport field. They must pull resources together and give that money to impact projects. Give it to impact projects. Make an impact to the community.”
The conference will end on Wednesday, when presentations from different mine managers are on the programme.