The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) in the North West on Saturday called on the public protector to investigate allegations concerning a mining company owned by the politically connected Gupta family.
Sanco was concerned about allegations that the mineral resources department “is involved in capture of mines around Rustenburg for the benefit of the Gupta company JIC Mining Services using political connections”, Sanco North West chairman Paul Sebegoe said.
This followed the closure of four mining shafts in the area over the past three months, he said.
“We call on the office of the public protector to investigate the the issuing of section 54 notices [stoppage notices in terms of the Mine Health and Safety Act] to mines that have given JIC notice to terminate its contracts due to financial non-compliance.”
Sebegoe vowed that Sanco would fight “victimisation of the mines using state resources”.
It was no coincidence that when JIC-related contracts were up for review, there was sudden pressure from the department on issues of compliance, the organisation said.
“We are therefore sending a strong warning to [Mineral Resources] Minister [Mosebenzi] Zwane that we are fully aware of the shinanigans taking place since his arrival at the department. We are warning him to desist from his agenda as he will be met with fierce resistance from communities around mining areas,” Sebegoe said.
Sanco said it would not tolerate the livelihood of communities to be compromised at “the [re]quest of those who seek to capture mines for the benefit of the politically connected few”.
The closure of the shafts would result in retrenchments and job losses that would negatively affect the local economy and communities, Sanco said.
“These mines are the only remaining source of livelihood for communities within the mining area. We will not allow anyone to mess with them. We still have unresolved issues with mining communities being deprived [of] ownership shares and expect the state to protect our interests instead of advancing the interest of a few politically connected individuals at the expense of workers and our communities,” he said.
While Sanco fully supported maximization of safety measures, it could not be a coincidence that when JCI-related contracts were being reviewed mines were suddenly issued with section 54 notices. “This is a clear abuse of political power and it will not be tolerated.”
Sebegoe alleged that the strategy was to pressurise mining companies, such as Royal Platinum Mines, to work at a loss so that they were forced to sell off mines that had a future with a rich ore body.
It was alleged that a section 54 notice uplifted on August 11 was invoked the next day, he said.
JIC Mining Services’ non-executive board reportedly includes Rajesh Gupta and President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane Zuma.
– African News Agency (ANA)