NGO slates 'uncaring mining houses'
A STUDY by the Benchmark Foundation, a local non-governmental organisation, has found that mining companies have little regard for the communities in which they operate.
The foundation, which compiled a report into South Africa's coal, gold and platinum mines in 2008, also found that mining houses paid lip service to the mining charter.
"Mining corporations continue to assume little responsibility for the health, education or housing of the families of their black employees while operating in monopolistic conditions and creating super profits," it says.
"The impact and consequences of mining on local farmers and traditional communities on whose land minerals are found is often overlooked. Any destruction to land, water and health and safety can never justify the benefits mining brings."
The foundation further reveals that the involvement of current and former government officials as shareholders, board members or mine managers in mining companies "is causing tensions and conflict and is undermining the trust of communities in the various spheres of government".
In Gauteng, the report says, gold and uranium mining caused the Mooi, Crocodile, Vaal rivers and Wonderfontein Spruit "severe stress". Excessive mining was "limiting the access of rural commodities to water" in Limpopo, while in Mpumalanga the Oliphants River was under stress, the foundation adds.