Still in good memory of the va-garies caused by asbestosis in the area, the community of Heuningvlei is up in arms by yet ano-ther attempt to extract the alleged deeply embedded valuables under-ground.
A reconnaissance visit by the Ka-thu Gazette in Heuningvlei, esta-blished that a man (name supplied) outside the region discovered gem-stones in the area. The man ap-proached the chief of the area and explained that he was interested in operating the mine. Trust members allied to the chief and the chief him-self then approached the community to introduce the prospective miner early in October 2017.
The chief and his trust members explained at length to convince the community to buy in the idea. The saying, “a burnt child dreads fire” came to the fore from the community as these are the victims of asbestos mining.
Embarrassingly, the community was firstly perturbed by the fact that the trust introduced to it was not known or had never been introduced at any given time in the past.
The chief, speaking on behalf of the prospective miner, explained his
intentions to the community, saying that he had discovered gemstones in the area, but did not specify the type of the gemstone.
In the proposal tentatively agreed upon between the prospective miner and the chief, the prospective miner is said to have stated that, “I will start employing twenty locals all drawn from all villages under the chief and I will give 5% of the proceeds to the community, 10% to the trust and 15% for the workers. All these vil-lages will be represented in the mi-ning project”.
The community then reverberated by asking a torrent of questions, which when answered appropriate-ly, would have unlocked the legitimi-sation of the initial operation of the mine. The community demanded a written constitutional agreement be-fore a consensus could be reached.
This, according to a community member interviewed, did not go down well with the trust members and the chief. The chief is alleged to have said, “You will die poor” imply-ing that the community was delaying the whole process.
In mid November 2017, the chief invited the community to the tribal office to introduce the miner officially
and the community responded ac-cordingly. The meeting had similar statements where 20 locals had to be employed and the allocation of percentages from the proceeds.
The first question by the communi-ty was, “Which trust is to benefit as this was a new vocabulary in the area ?” The meeting is said to have been aborted, but some days later, the miner allegedly had his team on the site digging the alleged gem-stones in question. The community
stopped the “zama-zamas” at the site, but allegedly two truck-loads of ore had al-ready been extracted and ship-ped from the site.
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