Mines allegedly shirk regulations, send ‘trillions’ abroad
Mining companies may be taking “trillions of dollars” out of the country while leaving communities to foot the bill for mining’s high environmental price, say activists
“Trillions of dollars…flow out of the country by business sectors such as mines that are taking money outside the country but using this country’s resources,” said David Lewis, executive director of Corruption Watch, a non-profit organisation working to fight corruption in South Africa.
Speaking at a Johannesburg press conference today, Lewis described corruption as “systemic” in South Africa. Organised by public interest law organisation Section27, the media briefing was held in the run up to what are expected to be two large-scale protest marches against corruption. Led by a coalition of organisations including Corruption Watch and Section27, the 30 September marches in Pretoria and Cape Town will culminate in memorandums of demand asking officials to, for instance, protect the public protector and the create of emergency plans to root out corruption in key government departments.
Organisations have also called on business to support anti-corruption programmes.
At the briefing Mishack Mbangwula from the community organisation of Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA) lambasted the country’s mining sector, which he blamed for environmental degradation and the forced removal of some communities.
“There is too much mushrooming of mines here in South Africa (and) most of them are not even paying taxes,” Mbangwula alleged. He went onto blame working conditions on the country’s mines for not only the poor health of communities but also creating tensions between workers that allegedly fuelled xenophobic violence.
He accused mines of not respecting the National Environmental Management Act and parliamentarians of failing to act against companies.
“Parliamentary officials are also shareholders of mines as the pay more attention to their personal interest rather than public interest,” Mbangwula told Health-e News.