Optimum was leveraged out of Glencore’s hands by failing ANC officials straight into the hands of the Guptas’ Tegeta.
Because of poor management, the mine which has been operating since 2002, was forced to shut down in 2018 and over 1000 employees and 500 contractors lost their jobs.
On an oversight visit to the mine this week, the DA experienced first-hand, the devastating effect left by the closure of the mine on the communities of KwaZamokuhle Township and Pullens Hope.
Majority of the people who live in Hendrina and surrounding areas depended one way or the other on a functional Optimum Mine, that is until Jacob Zuma’s ANC and the Guptas took over and brought the mine to its knees.
Driving or walking around KwaZamokuhle Township, you meet young people who have lost hope and their livelihood.
Many where employed by the mine – or had small businesses that supplied different resources to employees of the mine. There’s also a mushrooming new informal settlement of people who lost their houses when the mine closed down.
As for Pullens Hope where the mine is located, it has become a Ghost Town and buildings or flats that accommodated mine employees – have been abandoned and left to ruins.
There are also disturbing allegations that “ANC Forums” go around Hendrina, especially in KwaZamokuhle Township, charging desperate job seekers R1000 or R1500 to arrange employment for them on the nearby mines and the Hendrina Power Station.
The ANC have failed the communities of Hendrina and surrounding areas. Their mismanagement of Optimum Coal Mine had crippling effects on our economy, our electricity supply and affecting ordinary coal workers who cannot afford to put food on their tables or books in their children’s school bags.
Currently the mine is under business rescue and its issues are in courts.
Through our counterparts in the National Assembly, the DA will approach the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) to intervene and come up with urgent solutions so that mine can reopen and restore hope to the people of Hendrina.