Mr Johan Fourie wrote the following in response to an article that appeared in last week’s edition of the Zoutpansberger about the mining company Smarty (South Africa) Mineral Investment (Pty) Ltd’s interest to mine copper near Musina:
Another mining company seeing only dollar signs, and when confronted with the real questions that matter, they have no answers! Not any one of the mining companies that have mining plans in the Limpopo Valley has been able to answer one crucial question: Where is the water going to come from?
Farmers are battling to survive due to a lack of water and rain in the area. Now mining companies want to take the little we have for their short-term and unsustainable mining ventures!
Furthermore, mining licences, water licences and environmental authorization are handed out left, right and centre without anyone considering the cumulative impact of all of these developments on the resources, people, food production and other economic activities in the area. Each application is evaluated in isolation without any consideration for other economic activities or developments in the area.
Where are the resource audit and resource-use plan for the region? Where is an integrated development plan for the total development of the region (not IDPs for individual municipal areas, since they look at the development of a town in isolation)?
Have we got any idea how much water is available, how many existing economic activities rely on the limited water resources, and how many communities and people must survive on the little water there is? Is the infrastructure available to service all these developments?
The Department of Trade and Industry talks about large-scale industrial development and even a coal-fired power plant for the area. Where are the EIAs? What impact will it have on existing economic activities (tourism and agriculture, food production) and the water resources of the area, not to even talk about the pollution that will result from this?!
It is high time that the right questions are being asked and satisfactory answers provided to all these questions and to the future development of the region!
The water scarcity in Cape Town will look like a "baby" in comparison to what will happen if the Limpopo Valley runs out of water! With four consecutive years of drought and predictions that matters will get worse in the future, we are a lot closer to a water disaster than what we think!
It is time this is taken into consideration by the government and mining companies when they sit in their air-conditioned, luxury offices and work on plans for the development of the region! You cannot plan from your office desk, you do it at ground level, with the people and with up-to-date and adequate information at your disposal!