SANEDI (South African National Energy Development Institute) and the Mineworkers Development Agency (MDA) have signed a partnership agreement to bring relief to the country’s former mineworkers and their communities. The relief comes in the wake of mine closures and the ever-growing prevalence of mining “ghost towns” and other poverty-stricken areas.
This partnership is offering immediate COVID-19 support to 200 identified needy families, worst affected by the pandemic in mining communities in the Free State and the North West provinces.
SANEDI and MDA will be providing packages that include portable LPG stove systems with a number of LPG refill vouchers to minimise the impact of lack of access to efficient and effective cooking fuels.
The identified families are currently using traditional fuels that have detrimental indoor air quality challenges that can exacerbate the risks associated with the pandemic.
“Together with the MDA, SANEDI can establish effective and sustainable energy systems that will ensure communities optimise their energy use while instilling effective resource optimisation combined with sustainable waste management practices. Key to this is a systems approach to resource management including waste to energy initiatives that contribute towards the circular economy in these operations,” explains David Mahuma, General Manager: Working for Energy Programme at SANEDI.
As part of the MDA’s mandate, which compliments the work of the Department of Social Development, it must provide healthcare support to those former mineworkers that are HIV positive, have tuberculosis or other illnesses.
The MDA CEO Tshimane Monteodi indicated that “This partnership with SANEDI comes at an opportune moment in terms of the provision of efficient and effective cooking and heating sources for former mineworkers and their communities. The pandemic and winter season further exacerbated the already vulnerable grouping, due to occupational health-related diseases. Also following our recent 1200 food parcel distribution in the identified provinces”.
The infrastructure in mining towns is used as a place where these workers can find treatment and convalesce and where SANEDI is also establishing energy-efficient systems.
Additionally, the MDA is working together with various mining organisations’ social funding initiatives to ensure mineworkers get the necessary support after mining operations close.