The members of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy conducted an oversight visit on Wednesday afternoon to the West Village area of Krugersdorp in Gauteng at the mine where eight women were gang-raped and robbed of their possessions, allegedly by foreign-national illegal miners.

The members of the committee expressed disappointment with regards to the status of the mine after discovering that there is an operating license that is valid until August 2029. The mine was operated by Mintails South Africa under Mogale Gold’s mining license. However, operations were suspended in 2018 by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) due to non-compliance with the approved mine work programme. According to the prescribed mine work programme, Mintails South Africa was required to mine and treat its own ore, but the company treated over 60% of ore from third parties.

In 2015, the mine was issued with a notice for non-compliance with the financial provision for environmental liability. According to the DMRE, the mine has an environmental liability of more than R383 million and provided only R2.6 million financial provision by bank guarantee. The shortfall remains.

The Chairperson of the committee, Mr Sahlulele Luzipo, said that the DMRE should effectively apply the principle of revoking unused mining licenses. “What became the compounding issue during our oversight visit is the fact that there is what one will call ‘double-dipping’ in which two companies are granted mining rights at the same area, wherein one company will mine on the surface and the other one underground,” said Mr Luzipo.

The committee has asked the DMRE to provide a detailed information with regards to the mining rights that were granted in the West Village area of Krugersdorp in Gauteng, including the validity period and names of company directors. Mr Luzipo said that the information will assist the committee to ascertain instances where mining rights were granted incorrectly.

The committee has encouraged the DMRE to form partnerships with other government departments such as the departments of Police, Home Affairs and Defence and Military Veterans in order to develop a holistic approach to address the challenge of illegal mining.

 Justice Molafo
11 August 2022