MNQUMA Local Municipality has issued a stern warning to unscrupulous companies undertaking illegal mining activities in its jurisdiction, adding that the days of pillaging in the area which is rich in mineral resources are numbered.

This follows a meeting between the municipality’s management and their counterparts from the office of Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe, including the Mnquma Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCOCAI).

The municipality’s Local Economic Development Unit is spearheading efforts to unlock the economic potential that mineral resources in the area can bring to local communities. 

The municipality, which is situated along the Wild Coast, is rich in sand, titanium, granite, clay and dolorite. Mnquma also wants to ensure that there is full compliance with laws governing mining in the country.

LED Director in Mnquma, Mr Mongi Dilika outlined that the purpose of the meeting was for all parties to chart a working plan going forward. Illegal mining in Mnquma was very rife at the expense of the previously disadvantaged communities.

"The mining sector in Mnquma remains a virgin (untapped) territory. This is the beginning of the road to prosperity, the beginning of better things to come,” said Mr Dilika.

 

A well-known company mining crushed stone in Mnquma owed the municipality more than R275 000 in unpaid rental fees, including refuse removal, he said.

This was an unacceptable loss of revenue for the municipality, which was making strides to get out bankruptcy and meet its service delivery obligations.

 "These companies must honor their corporate social investment (CSI) obligations. They must support exceling learners from local schools through bursaries and support locally-owned food gardens which will address food security and fight hunger to our people,” said Mr Dilika.

Mr Dilika said a committee comprising of officials from DMR, Mnquma, MCOCAI and other relevant stakeholders to dig deep into the illegal mining operation and ensure compliance across Mnquma.

According to MCOCAI, local transport operators have also complained of lack of partnerships with the mining companies because of their outsourcing the delivery of their produce, depriving them of economic benefits.

According to DMR, up to 15 companies from the Mnquma area who have submitted applications for mining rights and only four have been awarded. Four applications are currently being processed. The department has powers to impose a penalty of R10million or 10 years’ imprisonment for non-compliance with its regulations.