CJC action pressures Mpumalanga DMRE to commit to working with mining-affected communities

For immediate release 27 June 2024

South Africa — On Wednesday, 26 June, Climate Justice Coalition (CJC) members in Mpumalanga gathered at the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) offices in eMalahleni to host a sit-in at the offices. The members came together to follow up on the demands listed in a memorandum it had delivered to the department as part of protest action in March. Since then, there had been radio silence from the DMRE despite representatives of the department having signed and accepted the memorandum. Finally on 26 June, CJC members were given an audience with DMRE representatives who promised to engage relevant stakeholders and give the Coalition a coordinated response via email. The DMRE also made commitments to visiting and working with the affected communities going forward.

In its initial memorandum, Coalition members made specific demands relating to addressing land and water pollution due to mines operating with expired licences and lack of engagement with affected communities. It also included a broader list of demands connected to a coordinated national day of action marching for People’s Power.

On 20 and 21 March, CJC members and partners marched with communities and workers across the Free State, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Western Cape, Kwazulu Natal, and Gauteng to assert the right to clean, affordable, and reliable electricity. The March action was prompted by nonstop power outages in the country which have condemned the most vulnerable in our society to untenable conditions where simple aspects of life, such as cooking and commuting, are impossible. Those actions and the subsequent meeting today are part of ongoing struggles by ordinary people living in South Africa, demanding the government’s urgent response to the country’s energy and climate crisis.

These actions were also in protest of the DMRE’s earlier published Draft Integrated Resource Plan 2023 – the government’s draft energy plan. The plan was poorly received, as it would drastically cut investment in renewable energy, instead locking the country into heavy dependence on more expensive, polluting, and unreliable energy sources, such as coal and fossil gas. Instead, the CJC is demanding a People’s Energy Plan to deliver a rapid and just transition to a more socially-owned, renewable energy-powered future, providing clean, safe, and affordable energy for all.

Cleopatra Nqobile Shezi, organiser at the Climate Justice Coalition, says:

“The reason why we came here is because on the 20 March, we came here to send our memorandum and since then up to date we have not yet received a response. Finally today, we had a proper and fruitful discussion to the extent that they are willing to cooperate and go hand-in-hand with us to visit the mines to see our frustrations as communities.”


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Fana Sibanyoni (MS Environmental Projects) says:

“The purpose for our participation was to voice the injustice from the DMRE in their failure to respond to our request and demands to do their work properly. Their [negligent]  behaviour has a negative impact on mining communities. I hope they will hear our complaints and start to respond positively.”


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Nondumiso Mabuza, Carolina Eco Green says:

“We participated in the meeting due to the fact that DMRE still did not respond to our demands. I feel so angry because the DMRE is not taking communities who reside near the mines seriously. They only care about production, not people’s lives. The DMRE has failed in its handling of expired mining-related permits. Its failure has had environmental impacts including contamination of rivers and groundwater sources, contributing to air pollution and land degradation.”

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Promise Mabilo, Vukani Environmental Movement, says:

“I was part of the meeting because it’s taken too long for the DMRE to respond back to us. They have not responded once since our last submission to them, they  ignored us. I want them to be responsible for what our communities need from them. I am hoping they will realise how important it is to feedback to communities.”

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For Media Enquiries, Contact:

Shaazia Ebrahim, Climate Justice Coalition


+27 83 320 2255

About the Climate Justice Coalition: The Climate Justice Coalition is a coalition of South African trade unions, civil society, grassroots and community-based organisations working together on advancing a transformative climate justice agenda, which tackles the inequality, poverty and unemployment that pervades South Africa.

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