Parliament, Sunday, 11 August 2022 – The communities of Limpopo’s Sekhukhune District have told the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy, the Portfolio Committee on Police as well as the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs during their joint oversight meeting that they resorted to illegal mining due to their unsuccessful applications for mining rights and licences for years.

The three committees were yesterday briefed by the Departments of Home Affairs, Mineral Resources the Police before meeting with communities from the greater Sekhukhune region to get an understanding of the extent of illegal mining in the area.

The departments and the police submitted reports about growing illegal mining activities in the area looking for platinum, chrome as well as gold. In an effort to thwart the illegal mining activities in the area, the committees were informed that the South African Police Service embarked on a joint operation to fight illegal mining activities in the area and there has reportedly been progress.

The committees also heard that when illegal miners were pushed out of Sekhukhune they often relocate to other parts of the province, in areas such as Mopani and Waterberg districts or they move to other provinces to continue with their illegal mining activities.

The people of Sekhukhune told the committees that they have resorted to illegal mining because their applications for mining rights and licenses were ignored by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy. They also claimed that all the rights in the area were held by three big conglomerates which are: Anglo Platinum, Samancor and Glencore.

Some of the illegal miners who are organised under the Sekhukhune Small Scale Miners Association said they were trying to make a living and were willing to enter into legal business through joint ventures or concessions with the mining houses.

The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy, Mr Sahlulele Luzipo, made it clear that the committees do not have any mandate of negotiating commercial transactions for communities. “We understand your frustration, however, we cannot promise to resolve the issue of licensing, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy must help stop the monopoly of the three companies so that the community can also get an opportunity to participate in the mining business,” said Mr Luzipo.

Following the incident that shook the country in July this year, where eight women were robbed and gang raped in Krugersdorp, allegedly by illegal miners, the committees took a decision to conduct oversight visits to all illegal mining hotspots around the country to get a better understanding of the extent of the problem of illegal mining.

Today the committees will meet with mining companies, visit mines affected by illegal mining and also hold a public meeting with communities affected by illegal mining in the Polokwane area.

ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON MINERAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY MR SAHLULELE LUZIPO, THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HOME AFFAIRS, MR MOSA CHABANE, AND THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMIITEE ON POLICE.

For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairpersons, please contact:

Name: Sakhile Mokoena

Parliamentary Communication Services

Cell: 081 705 2130

E-mail: smokoena@parliament.gov.za