Disused mines threaten the lives of Soweto communities

The rise of acid mine water is threatening the lives of communities living around old and disused mines in Johannesburg.

Communities living near a mine in Soweto have been complaining about the unhealthy living conditions there.

Bench Marks Foundation researcher, David Van Wyk says they have conducted a survey in five communities around Soweto and Mafikeng and found that respiratory problems in those areas are rife.

He attributes this to the dust in the surrounding mines.

The dust contains a whole range of very poisonous substances, all of which can contribute to a variety of health problems.

David Van Wyk, Political Economist And Researcher at Bench Marks Foundation

In some communities, we found very high incidents of cerebral palsy, which we think could be caused by actinic lead or uranium and radioactive material that is in the waste.

David Van Wyk, Political Economist And Researcher at Bench Marks Foundation

This is very worrying for us.

David Van Wyk, Political Economist And Researcher at Bench Marks Foundation

Van Wyk says they will be going back into those communities, working together with French researchers, to confirm their speculations.

The previous minister of mining once said that they are not investigating this matter because they do not want to kill the goose that lays a golden egg.

David Van Wyk, Political Economist And Researcher at Bench Marks Foundation

We cannot have a situation where our country creates wealth, but poor people have to pay the price for that wealth, so it is very important that we do responsible mining.

David Van Wyk, Political Economist And Researcher at Bench Marks Foundation

To hear more of this interview with David Van Wyk, listen below:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Disused mines threaten the lives of Soweto communities


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