No plan yet for home demolitions, says company

IMG_3687

By Tony Carnie

The company that aspires to mine several million tons of coal from the borderline of the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi wilderness zone has denied that identity stickers placed on the front doors of several rural homes mean that those people will definitely have to move out.

Responding to concerns from several residents of the Fuleni area who found white “demolition stickers” stuck to their homes last week, Ibutho Coal spokesman Johan van der Berg said the stickers were to indicate that these households were part of a new social impact survey and possible “resettlement strategy” linked to the mining plan.

“The stickers placed are only to identify households that have been surveyed, and are in no way an indication whether a household would need to relocate. This will only be possible to indicate once the social impact assessment is complete,” he said in response to written questions.

Although Ibutho has promised the mine will create “more than 300 jobs”, Van der Berg declined The Mercury’s invitation to disclose approximately how many people stood to lose their homes, grazing land, farm plots and other infrastructure if Ibutho succeeded in its plan to dig six opencast mining pits in the vicinity of the Ocilwane, Nthuthunga, Novunula, eFuyeni and eMakhwezini communities.

A recent scoping report by Ibutho’s environmental consultants indicates that there are at least 2 333 households located within Ibutho’s mining rights lease area south of the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, but it does not specify how many face relocation. Previous community surveys suggest an average family size of more than eight people a household, suggesting that more than 18 600 people could be affected by the mining plan during its 35-year lifespan.

IMG_3684
According to Ibutho’s website, the mining lease area is made up of “sparsely populated rural bushy grasslands”.

On the question of resettlement of people, livestock and infrastructure, Ibutho says: “Affected families must be provided with housing to the same or better standard, that the company must facilitate the physical move and that a relocation allowance be negotiated with the directly affected families, after consultation with land owners, traditional leadership, municipality and provincial government to establish alternative housing options.”

All houses in the vicinity of the proposed mine would also be surveyed in advance before any mine blasting, and any future damage would be compensated for if home owners could prove the damage was because of blasting by the mine.

This article appeared in the Mercury on Tuesday 29 April, 2015

4 Comments

  1. We all know that the comments passed by the mining company are as baseless and as fabricated as restoring mining areas after the deed.Who has driven past the mapulanga area down to Nelspruit lately.
    They must not be given the opportunity to even start,as with the Wild Coast.

  2. Why do we all just “know” this is bulldust, that the decision has already been made and that all that’s happening here is they’re scuttling around putting lipstick on the pig?

  3. Hi Rob,

    Excellent article!! Well-written, and unbiased. I have one problem with it, and I was curious if you did as well… the way it is headed, now, makes it feel (to me) like a fact, a true fact, whereas I believe the company is actually leading people on and not being totally open and honest. I would have preferred the heading to read more like this (if I stick to the same language): ‘No plan yet’ for home demolitions, says company. I think those accent markers quite important, and meant to talk to you about those when I saw the tweet (but bot busy), and now I see it is someone else writing (and deciding? or are you the final editor?).

    What do you think?

    Kind rgdz Jone

    >

    • Hi Jone. The article was written by Tony Carnie, arguably the best environmental reporter in South Africa. I have reproduced the article exactly as it appeared in the Mercury newspaper. I do agree with you from a personal point of view.

Leave a Reply to Rob Symons Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *