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
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.
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.