The downturn in the mining sector has seen the number of distressed mining areas proclaimed by government climb to almost 20.
Government launched the Revitalisation of Distressed Mining Communities programme in 2012.
According to the presidency, there are 19 distressed mining areas in six provinces.
The towns on the list receive special cross departmental support, either through technical support or grant transfer, that is meant to diversify the local economy by developing other economic opportunities during and beyond the life of mines.
The 19 prioritised mining towns in the programme are Fetakgomo, Tubatse, Elias Motsoaledi in Sekhukhune district and Lephalale in Waterberg district in Limpopo; Westonaria, Randfontein, Mogale City and Merafong in Gauteng’s West Rand; Rustenburg, Moses Kotane, Madibeng in Bojanala district in North West, as well as Matlosana in the same province; Mpumalanga’s Nkangala district’s Emalahleni and Steve Tshwete municipalities; the Free State’s Matjhabeng municipality; and Ga-segonyana, Gamagara, Kgatelopele and Tsantsabane municipalities in the Northern Cape.
According to Tshegofatso Modubu, a department of monitoring and evaluation spokesperson, municipalities chosen and prioritised were experiencing different forms of distress.
“The old gold mining municipalities are experiencing a continuous decline in economic activity as gold reserves are diminishing and so are employment opportunities. These municipalities are therefore experiencing a sharp economic decline,” she said.
“At the same time, the newly growing mining municipalities that are predominantly concerned with the extraction of platinum group metals, coal and other mineral commodities are experiencing an influx of migrant workers searching for employment at the mines and other related industries,” Modubu said.
“These municipalities are experiencing a different kind of distress, which is associated with the inadequate provision of decent housing and living conditions, bulk and reticulation infrastructure. The available amenities do not meet the demands of an ever increasing population in these localities,” she said.