AGGRIEVED: Residents of Ga-Molekana feel they were not compensated fairly by the Mogalakwena mine for their land. The company is denying this assertion.Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Residents of Ga-Molekana in Limpopo say they feel short-changed by the Mogalakwena platinum mine over the loss of their ploughing lands - as the mine acquired land from 526 people at R19 000 each despite the residents initially wanting R1000 00 per field.
According to a member of the community, Frans Nyalungu, R100 000 each for the 526 beneficiaries would have amounted to R52.6 million.

However, the mine refused to budge saying it could only pay R10m to the people.

“The mine refused to pay that amount and negotiated us down.

"They promised us jobs inside the mine if we agreed to that amount,” he said.

“They paid the money but never kept the promise on the jobs,” he added.

This comes as the country is in the middle of a fierce land debate over whether to make amendments to Section 25 of the Constitution to address the land issue.

Some are calling for the expropriation of land without compensation.

However, in Ga-Molekana the sums don’t add up.

The company's spokesperson, Mpumi Sithole, said in addition to the R10m cited, the mine had paid an additional R25m in a trust for the community.

“Also I would recommend you contact lawyers Richard Spoor Inc," added Sithole.

"As the representative of the Ga-Molekana community they may be able to share the settlement agreement with you, which mentions the figures that I have highlighted," Sithole said.

"The settlement agreement is separate from the trust and the lawyers will be able to assist you with detail,” she insisted.

A settlement letter given to the community, states that on November 10 last year, the Mokopane, Rustenburg Platinum Mines (RPM), met the ploughing fields committee of the Ga-Molekana community and Richard Spoor Inc agreed that the residents would be compensated for their land.

“RPM shall pay an amount of R10m to claimants in respect of the claims.

"The parties shall endeavour to ensure that the amount is paid to the individual claimants in equal amounts expeditiously,” read the agreement.

RPM further agreed to donate an amount of R6m to the claimants to enable them to purchase land.

The company had also agreed to contribute towards a sustainable social development project, or to more than one project, provided that the value of such projects were similar in value to a single project capped at R2m for the benefit of the claimants in respect of other land to be purchased.

The monies were paid into the trust account of Spoor by RPM.

The document also made reference to a promise made in 2015 that RPM offered to donate R25.5m into a community development trust to be established for the benefit of the Ga-Molekana community to address livelihoods whiich were impaired by loss of land and mining activities.

The process to pay claimants was, however, riddled with irregularities which resulted in six people who had ploughing fields not being paid.

Sarah Chauke who was one of those responsible for distributing the payments said initially the list had 800 people, some who did not have fields.

“We managed to dispute it. We made a compromise and were left with 526.

"Even on that list people still got paid without owning fields.

"About 520 people were paid and six were not. When I tried to go to the mine I was stopped and a new group mushroomed and started fighting with us. Processes were halted and payment was stopped and investigations instituted.”

Chauke said about 300 people had started demanding payment and added their names to the unpaid lists. She said she was only aware of the R10m that was paid and the R6m into the lawyer’s account.

“They paid R10m and then R6m for the projects but that has not happened to this day.”

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Sunday Independent