Mapungubwe Media Statement

MEDIA STATEMENT: WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS MINISTERBUYELWA SONJICA CONCERNED ABOUT MINING NEAR MAPUNGUBWE

MEDIA STATEMENT

19 FEBRUARY 2010

WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS MINISTER BUYELWA SONJICA CONCERNED ABOUT MINING NEAR MAPUNGUBWE

The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Buyelwa Sonjica is concerned about the latest media reports that Coal of Africa has been awarded an unconditional New Order Mining Right (NOMR) near Mapungubwe in Limpopo.

The Minister is concerned that with Mapungubwe being one of the 7 proclaimed World Heritage Sites in South Africa, this latest development could adversely affect its position. Mapungubwe has not only gained international importance, but stands as symbol for the highest honour in the country that is conferred by the State President for achievements in the international area which have served South Africa’s interests. The Order of Mapungubwe has four classes and has been granted to the former Presidents Nelson Mandela and FW De Klerk as well as other 23 recipients for the outstanding achievements.

The Mapungubwe National Park is situated approximately 7km to the West of the area earmarked for mining. As the oldest known large settlement in Southern Africa, and the precursor to Greater Zimbabwe, this site is of not only regional, but international importance. This is why the area is not only designated as a National Park, but also a Trans-frontier Conservation Area, a World Heritage Site (WHS) and a Biosphere Reserve.

It is not known what the effect of blasting will be on the surrounding archaeological sites and graves. Tourism development in the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape will be negatively affected by the 24/7 lighting, blasting and noise and may destroy the sense of place permanently, and with it, the sustainable job opportunities from tourism and tourism growth.

The Department of Environmental Affairs has requested the Department of Mineral Resources for a copy of the NOMR before deciding on the way forward in this regard.

Further, Minister Sonjica has decided to engage with the Minister of Mineral Resources, Ms Susan Shabangu, to look at the mining activities around not just Mapungubwe, but all environmentally sensitive areas.
For media queries contact:
Albi Modise on 083 490 2871

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS