The community of Maandagshoek and surrounding villages, outside Burgersfort, in Limpopo, is demanding transparency, jobs and contracts at Dinkwe Platinum Mine.
The mine is still in its formation stages. The mining company’s director, Richard Seleka, its funders and officials from the Department of Agriculture and Land Reform have been holding consultative meetings with the community on the use of communal farms by the company.
Some of the communal farm owners have already accepted compensation for the loss of their land.
It was a heated meeting held at the local traditional council offices.
70-year-old Monica Mokiba is one of the people who sold their agricultural land to the mine. She says she was paid R30 000 for her six hectares. The mine will be mining platinum in the area.
Mokiba says she accepted the money as she is desperate because no one is working at home. “It’s a six-hectare piece of land. They gave us R30 000 and promised to give us an extra R10 000. At least half a loaf is better than no bread. It’s better as compared to what the local Modikwa mine did to us when they started mining in our area. They did not give us even a cent. No one is employed at home and we feel at least we will put something on the table. Our only worry is that they just make promises without any paperwork. I have already received my thirty thousand in February.”
Community members want the mine to provide water services and road infrastructure in all the affected villages as part of its social plan.
They say they will closely watch the mine to see if it is fulfilling its promise to bring development to the area.
One resident says, “We will sort them out if they are making empty promises about development. Mandaagshokes starts from Sefateng section but there is no development. We need bulk water and proper road infrastructure. You are taking our ploughing fields and not including us in the entire process … no, it’s wrong.”
Local businessmen, Patrick Lechesa and Immanuel Makgokga, say they want local companies and ordinary people to be given contracts and jobs at the mine.
Company Director, Richard Seleka, has denied the allegations of dishonesty and promised that the mine will spend the first three months training workers.
“I would like to give you assurance, especially those who talked about training and worried they might not be hired; don’t worry. The first three months, we will be training people. I am a leader without any doubt. Thieves are in prison. Some people talk bad about people like me but I am used to that. They are against me for being truthful.”
Seleka is urging the community to co-operate with the mine, and to resolve any disputes amicably.