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Ticking Time Bomb in Kolo

. . . as villagers’ houses on verge of collapse due to mining activities

MNNCIJ Reporters

Mafeteng – FOR 52-year-old ’Mamokuena Bulane, it is only a matter of time before one of her two cracked houses collapses because of operations at the nearby Reskol diamond mine in Kolo, Ha-Petlane.

Ms Bulane says the two houses were built by her late husband in 1984 and 1998, respectively, but began to crack in 2001 because of mining operations, which have been managed by different companies since 1993.

The MNN Centre for Investigative Journalism (MNNCIJ) can bear testimony to the enormous cracks on the sides and verandah of both houses.

The company could be on a collision course with the government over the issue.

Reskol Diamond Mining said this week that it is not responsible for the damage because it only began work on the site in October last year. It also said its corporate social responsibility policy did not apply to this and other community demands because the mine was still in a trial phase.

But in an interview, Mining Minister Keketso Sello disagreed, saying Reskol Diamond Mining “cannot turn a blind eye to the community’s demands” and that it “cannot claim the damage was caused by the previous mining company and fail to address those issues”.

Set in the heart of the Ha-Petlane village, the mine is just a stone’s throw from Ms Bulane’s backyard.

Ms Bulane – a widow and grandmother of four – says despite the “clearly” imminent danger posed by the mine to her family, she is disheartened by “endless broken promises” over the years by mine management to relocate or compensate all households adjacent to the mine.

A close shot of ‘Mamokuena Bulane’s five-roomed house with cracks reaching the roof exposed

“The lives of my grandchildren and mine are increasingly in danger. It’s only a matter of time before one of these houses falls down due to the heavy operations of the mine, which produce terrifying noises, shake the land and emit strong gases,” she told the MNNCIJ during a recent visit.

 

‘Mamokuena Bulane’s House stoep cracked beyond repair

Ms Bulane owns the two houses, one of which is a relatively large two-roomed structure built from breeze-blocks and covered in black rough-cast, and the other a five-roomed house also built of breeze-blocks but not plastered.

Ms Bulane’s predicament is shared by other households in Ha-Petlane.

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