Ricochet News

Transkei sand mining a 'free for all', DA wants Minister to intervene

Apr 30, 2018
Transkei sand mining a 'free for all', DA wants Minister to intervene

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape has called upon the Minister of Mineral Resources to act swiftly and decisively to put a stop to what it called the illegal mining of sand in the Eastern Cape.

"A parliamentary response from the Eastern Cape MEC for the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT), Sakhumzi Somyo, indicates that sand mining is in effect a free for all activity," said Jane Cowley (MPL), DA Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism.

"If the African National Congress (ANC)-led government of the province is serious about stopping corruption and lawlessness, then they should put their money where their mouths are and act without delay to end the illegal mining which is desecrating the dune and estuarine formations along the Wild Coast."

Cowley added that despite many attempts by the DEDEAT to engage with the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) regarding unauthorized sand mining along the Wild Coast, particularly through Operation Phakisa, their efforts have largely been in vain as the DMR has seldom honoured the joint operations that have been arranged in this regard.

"The responsibility for enforcing the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) Act 107 of 1998, falls squarely on the DMR because sand is a mineral," she described.

"However, they claim to be understaffed in the province and thus the illegal sand mining activities continue unabated and have effectively become a free for all.

"As a result, ancient and stable dune formations have been desecrated and are already impacting negatively on the structure of some beaches and estuary mouths along the Wild Coast section of the Eastern Cape."

Cowley said that the only way that Environmental law enforcement can enforce any law is through the Integrated Coastal Management Act relating to illegal off road driving by sand miners.

"This does not seem to deter the sand miners in any way.

"We further call on the MEC for DEDEAT to allocate funding for the training and employment of at least 20 further environmental law enforcement officers, for deployment along the Eastern Cape coast," she said.

"It is this beautiful natural heritage which attracts so many foreign and local visitors to our shores and thus it should be respected and protected with vigour."