Mine agrees to talks on Bekkersdal land

Municipality workers erect a road between the land and the mine in Bekkersdaal in Johannesburg, 12 May 2014, which residents want to occupy by force. Picture: Nigel Sibanda
Municipality workers erect a road between the land and the mine in Bekkersdaal in Johannesburg, 12 May 2014, which residents want to occupy by force. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

NOTE: Article first appeared in The Citizen newspaper on May 13, 2014. 

Rand Uranium mine on the West Rand will enter into talks with concerned residents in Bekkersdal this week over unused land in the area.

The land close to the mine, which is owned by the mine, has been standing empty for nearly 30 years.

Residents in Bekkersdal attempted to occupy the land earlier this year but were stopped when the mine issued an interdict against their action in January.

Thabang Wesi, spokesperson for the Greater Westonaria Concerned Residents’ Association, said “they (Rand Uranium mine) withdrew the charges because they understand that we need this land”.

Residents were not stopped by the interdict but by “other pressing issues”, said Wesi.

“We need that land. It’s vacant and there’s no development happening there. Bekkersdal must grow like other townships.”

The only residents seen by The Citizen on site yesterday were miners leaving to go home and municipality workers paving a new road to connect the mine to the township.

Wesi described the vacant land as being as big as Bekkersdal itself. “The mine is in the township but doing nothing for the people who live there. They are only developing the land and not the people,” said Wesi.

The current management of the mine also stands accused of not contributing to the community trust fund.

“They have to contribute – if not they must go” said Wesi.

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