Public Participation Guide: Transvaal and Delogoa Bay Colliery - Witbank, Mpumalanga, South Africa
- Department of Minerals and Energy
- Department of Water Affairs and Forestry
Public Participation Goal and Level
- Provide stakeholders with information about the project;
- Provide stakeholders with the opportunity to raise issues and concerns as well as suggest options for the successful rehabilitation of the site;
- Establish channels for ongoing consultation and feedback with local communities; and
- Raise community awareness concerning the safety and environmental hazards associated with the site.
Public Participation Approach
Specific Public Participation Tools and Techniques Used
- Pre-consultation small group meetings were held at the start of the project with representatives of various community-based organizations in the participants’ language of choice (e.g., Northern Sotho or Zulu). The meeting purposes were to obtain information on public perceptions of the proposed site rehabilitation process, identify issues and concerns, and ensure the commitment of the parties.
- Four public meetings were held to inform the public of the investigations that were underway and provide the public with the opportunity to comment on the rehabilitation options and work that was planned.
- Two brainstorming sessions were held with key stakeholders on site rehabilitation options. Proceedings were sent to all participants as well as others who requested them.
- A Draft Scoping report was developed that documented the issues and concerns about the site, which was followed by a public meeting to further discuss issues related to the draft scoping report. A Final Scoping report was produced thereafter, and a letter of acknowledgment was distributed to those who commented.
- Feedback reports on the progress of the project were sent to all stakeholders and relevant documents were distributed for comment at key milestones in the project. Fact sheets were also distributed to local communities, people working on the site, and those crossing the site on their travels.
- Further investigation of the stakeholders in the area and identification of new role players in the area who had emerged subsequent to the commencement of Stage 1 of the process.
- Formation of an informal steering committee with key stakeholder groups from the local community, including non-governmental organizations and community based organizations. Regular bimonthly meetings were held with the group to discuss the various proposed public activities and also obtain feedback.
- A public meeting was held to provide feedback on the construction work completed, technical studies, rehabilitation options for the site as well as the environmental impacts of each option. The proposed public participation program was also presented for comment.
- A T&DB township play was commissioned. Local communities were involved in the production of the play, which was performed as a means of raising community awareness about issues relating to health and safety at the former mine.
- Communication materials were produced including information fact sheets and a T&DB Colliery newsletter. The material was produced in both the Northern Sotho and Zulu languages. The fact sheets provided graphical illustrations in the interests of communicating with illiterate people. The newsletter provided detail on the environmental issues at T&DB Colliery and work undertaken.
- An Access Control Pathway survey was conducted to determine reasons for pedestrians using unsafe routes across the site. The survey was conducted due to local skepticism about using the upgraded safe access pathways. Local volunteers conducted the survey and interviewed more than 200 people. It was found that further improvements to the access pathways were required and that the sponsor agencies needed to continually reinforce the message that the pathways were the safest route across the site.
- School theatre workshops and wall painting were conducted by the project team in Witbank to promote awareness among children. Children were given theatre classes and thereafter joined other community members in communicating safety issues relating to the colliery, as well as information about the work undertaken by DME and DWAF.
- Throughout Stages 1 and 2, there was continuous consultation with authorities, non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations to ensure an open and transparent process and build a relationship of trust between the authorities and the local communities.
- Safe access across the site. Safe access pathways were constructed.
- The presence of graves on the site. Grave sites were identified and recommendations made regarding relocation of graves.
- The level of crime associated with the site. The issue was raised with the Community Policing Forum, who together with the South African Police Service and the South African National Civic Organization, indicated that they would strive to intensify crime prevention initiatives in the area.
- Potential damage to houses during blasting to be carried out on the site. A photographic survey was undertaken by local volunteers of all the potentially affected houses prior to the blasting. This provided a sense of security to affected stakeholders as it provided a visual record and reference point in the event of problems caused by blasting.
- In addition, the public participation process resulted in an improved public information campaign about the site rehabilitation because local stakeholders were involved in the design and implementation of the campaign. Stakeholders were able to identify creative ways of communicating information about the site and were instrumental in obtaining data on site access.
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