AfriForum submits comment on new mine water management policy

AfriForum submitted comment on the new mine water management policy on 2 November 2017. The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) wants to implement this new policy.

The policy aims to detail the DWS’s new position in terms of mine management, including acid water drainage, and to provide for measures to protect water resources that are impacted on by prospective, operational and historic mining activities that may have a negative impact on water quality.

The civil rights organisation submitted the following comments amongst others:

  • The intention of Edna Molewa, Minister of Water and Sanitation, to reduce the number of nine catchment area managing agencies to one is contrary to the requirements of Chapter 7 of the National Water Act (Act No 36 of 1998). The Act determines that water resource management should be delegated to regional level and that local communities be involved in water resource management.
  • The DWS’s current failure to regularly water quality as a result of financial limitations makes it impossible to manage the country’s scarce water resources. This failure should be addressed by the new policy.
  • The DWS’s inability to address the non-compliance of legislation in the mining industry and to enforce legal requirements – for example ignoring water usage licences and regulations for the use water for mining and relevant activities – should be addressed by the policy.
  • Opposing the permanent suspension of the Water Tribunal before an alternative administrative dispute settlement mechanism is in place. This will keep local residents from influencing the management of water crises in their areas.

“The quality of water resources and the managing thereof on a water-scarce country such as South Africa are non-negotiable. The challenge is still that, although applicable water legislation and regulation are in place, these are not monitored and enforced in the case of the mining industry. It is therefore important that the mine water management policy be effective,” says Chris Boshoff, Coordinator for Environmental Affairs at AfriForum.

AfriForum will soon publish information on the number of mines operating without water licences.

SMS your name to 45354 (R1) to support AfriForum.

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