Posts Tagged ‘Genocide’

If you thought there was more behind the current acid water crisis that is brewing beneath the city of Joburg, then you’re right.

I was shocked to find an article from IOL about Aurora Empowerment Systems and a group of unpaid miners that was published over a month ago.

The miners claim that they are the victims of “mining genocide” after more than 100 miners continued to maintain the now suspended Grootvlei mine for several months without pay.

Aurora Empowerment Systems is run by relatives of both President Jacob Zuma and former President Nelson Mandela, and according to the IOL article, is reportedly bankrupt. Aurora retained certain workers to create a care-and-maintenance team when it stopped operations at the Springs mine in March following protests by more than 2 000 mineworkers over unpaid salaries.

According to the article, the workers described their situation as mining genocide because the government is aware of the crisis at Aurora, but failed to take action against the company.

Grootvlei is the last pump station in operation in Ekurhuleni, and its flooding could permanently destroy the mine, but also ultimately unleash a toxic tide of radioactive acid mine water on the surface within the next four years.

Workers at the mine continued to work without pay because of their duty to prevent a catastrophe, but said they had not been paid for four months and were tired of empty promises.

The Department of Water Affairs has already hit Aurora with criminal charges for failing to treat 108 million litres of acid mine water discharged daily into the protected Blesbokspruit wetland system for several months. This water flows into the protected Marievale Bird Sanctuary, and reaches the Vaal River.

The toxic, radioactive water is loaded with sulphates, heavy metals such as manganese, and iron.

IOL reported that Lawyers for Human Rights visited Grootvlei on a fact-finding mission where hundreds of unpaid mineworkers, mostly foreigners, were living in its hostels without access to food, electricity and clean water because of Aurora’s R100 million debt to creditors of Grootvlei.

According to an article published by the Business Report earlier this month, Aurora has managed to secure R50 million from Global Emerging Markets(GEM) to cover their short term needs.

Aurora, whose managing director is Zondwa Mandela, a grandson of Nelson Mandela, and whose chairman Khulubuse Zuma is President Zuma’s nephew, is now apparently treating the water following the notice of criminal charges.

Is the government more closely linked to the acid water crisis than they would have us believe?

Is there a modern day conspiracy bubbling beneath the streets of Joburg?

More on this story as it happens…