Parliament, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 – The Select Committee on Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy is on a three-day fact finding oversight visit to the site of the Jagersfontein diamond mine disaster, where a dam wall collapsed causing severe devastation for the community.
The committee Chairperson, Ms Tebogo Modise, said: “We are here to get answers, we are here because of the tragedy. Lives were lost and people are traumatised. We are here to get information.”
On day one of the oversight, the committee held a joint meeting with the Free State Legislature where it met with various stakeholders, including the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE).
Briefing the committee, the DMRE said that according to their records, De Beers was the last mining company to have control over the area. However, the DMRE does not have jurisdiction in the area, because minerals are no longer being extracted there. A court judgement ruled that tailings/surface dumps are not subject to control by the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 (MPRDA). Consequently, the DMRE does not have jurisdiction to regulate these dumps.
The Regional Manager of Mineral Regulation Ms Kalipa Kewuti explained that there is currently a company onsite working on the surface of the area processing waste material from mining operations in the 1970s.
DMRE informed the committee that as a result of the court judgement, the department would only be able to regulate mine dumps if the current legislation is amended. Currently, mine dumps are the private property of the mining company that created them.
Ms Modise noted that another meeting is required with the DMRE, DFFE and South African Police Services to address issues arising from this engagement. The committee would like to know why the DMRE did not appeal the court’s judgement at the time.
Tomorrow, 21 September, the committee will continue its oversight at Jagersfontein, where it will meet and engage with the community and the municipality.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON LAND REFORM, ENVIRONMENT, MINERAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY, MS TEBOGO MODISE.
For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson, please contact the committee’s Media Officer:
Name: Yoliswa Landu
Parliamentary Communication Services
Cell: 081 497 4694
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