Residents at villages affected by the establishment of Nkwe Platinum Mine, outside Burgersfort in Limpopo, are worried about mining disputes between the Modikwa Platinum and Nkwe Platinum Mines. The villages affected by the dispute are Maandagshoek, Ga-Ratau, and Leolo.
Nkwe Platinum mine has started fencing and storing mining equipment at Maandagshoek village.
Maandagshoek land claimants say Nkwe does not have mining rights on the land.
Modikwa Platinum Mine says it has mining rights on the land and is taking the matter to court.
A month ago, the provincial government officially launched a mining operation at Ga-Ratau village, where Nkwe Platinum was introduced to the community. 6 000 people from the three villages were set to get job opportunities.
Community raises concerns about new mine in Limpopo:
The new mine operation is also using a farm in Maandagshoek to store its equipment.
The land in Maandagshoek is being claimed through the government’s land restitution process. The land claimants say they were not consulted over the usage of the land by Nkwe.
One of the land claimants, Walter Modiba, says the chief is not the landowner so the mine owners have to consult with the rightful owners of the land.
“I support Modikwa because Nkwe did not talk to us when they came to our land as the landowners. If they want to remain on our farm, they have to come and talk with us as the landowners. We are told they are busy talking with the chiefs. For us they did not come to us; to talk with the chief does not mean the chief is the landowner, the chief is just the chief of the people, not the landowner.”
Modikwa Platinum Mine insists it has the mining rights
Modikwa Platinum Mine, owned by mining magnate Patrice Motsepe, also says it has mining rights on the land in Maandagshoek that is being used by Nkwe Platinum.
Modikwa Platinum did not want to be recorded on the matter, but they confirmed that they have taken the matter to court.
Nkwe Platinum is also accused by residents at Leolo village, who allege that the company has divided the local Nkosi royal house.
Jacob Nkosi, who is a member of the royal house, says the company has entered into a deal with some members of the royal family.
“We are complaining about the operations that are going to happen by Nkwe Platinum here at Ga Sekhukhune, we are the affected areas to that mine. We want them to come on the table and we want some agreement in black and white not verbally. Because now they bribe our chiefs, they do some celebrations without resolutions from the community and we want them to comply with all the clauses from the mining charter and social labour plan. So, we are sick and tired of the bribes that are given to the Mahosi of Ga Sekhukhune.”
Residents at Leolo say they want mining companies to work on their land as it will provide job opportunities, but they want all disputes to be resolved before more operations commence.
“They are running matters about the mine, but the community is not fully briefed about it. We want the mine as it will create jobs. They will train us to have some skills. We welcome the mine because we are poor and not working and it will help us. All we want is for them to come at clear and tell us all the details about the mine, how is the mine going to help and where exactly are they going to set it up,” says one resident.
The case between Modikwa Platinum and Nkwe Platinum will be heard at the Polokwane High court on 29 June.