South Africa Department of Mineral Resources grant mining prospecting rights in protected areas

The trend towards greater corruption in South Africa is worrying,

JOHANNESBURG – Sometime early in 2009, the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) granted mining prospecting rights over substantial portions of a private game reserve. Ditto a national game reserve.

The reserves are adjacent; the private one, the Welgevonden Wildland Scheme, is one of the most acclaimed nature conservation areas in the country and internationally. The other is Marakele National Park; covered, as such, by section 48(1) of the Protected Areas Act, which prohibits commercial prospecting or mining activities within a national park…

The rights were apparently awarded to Salestalk 443 (Pty) Ltd, which, according to the national company database Cipro, has never had any directors (apart from one Christiaan Gouws, whose name appears on the register of numerous shell companies, which he apparently sells). At one point, on June 4 2008, Welgevonden’s legal representatives telephoned one Raisibe Francina Phosa, who had purported to be a director of Salestalk. Phosa confirmed her identity and that she was a director of Salestalk.

Upon enquiries regarding the application for the prospecting right, Phosa was said to be “unable to respond coherently”. In another attempt to contact Phosa, one Faizel Yusuf answered the telephone. Yusuf refused to disclose his involvement (if any) with Salestalk and/or with Phosa. And that was that.

Read the story here.

Update: Are politically connected people plundering mining rights?

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