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The DA welcomes the criminal charges the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has laid against the Gupta-linked Alexkor Richtersveld Mining Company Pooling and Sharing Joint Venture (PSJV) for building cofferdams along the Northern Cape coast.
We have been raising concerns around Alexkor’s operations for many years and have written letters to Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Minister Barbara Creecy, to whom we also submitted a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application for the environmental notice issued to Alexkor, and submitted parliamentary questions to the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, who investigated Alexkor in 2018 for the non-compliance with environmental legislation.
The communities that were meant to benefit from Alexkor’s partnership to mine diamonds along the Northern Cape coast after the Land Claims Court awarded them the land and mining rights, have instead seen themselves exploited and their environment terribly damaged.
Cofferdams, meant to keep sea waters at bay while the beaches were mined for diamonds, were built with material foreign to the natural environment which has subsequently polluted the area and caused extensive environmental damage. This has reportedly not only had devastating effects on the maritime environment, but also on the communities dependent on it for their livelihoods.
The DA trusts that the Director of Public Prosecutions in the Northern Cape would see it fit to prosecute Alexkor and bring a measure of justice to the long-suffering communities of the Richtersveld and Northern Cape Coast. The criminal charges mark the end of the struggle against the illegal cofferdam mining on the West Coast and ends in a victory for the environment, local diamond divers and local fisherman.
Issued by DA Constituency Head: Kamiesberg and Khaima, Veronica van Dyk MP