On 25 June 2014 the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) had a quarterly meeting with several Non-Governmental Organisations to discuss matters of concern. During this meeting, a presentation was made by Ms M Liefferink, Chief Executive Officer of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE). Ms Liefferink requested response from the NNR on a number of concerns previously raised. These were documented and the NNR provided a written response.
The Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) invited Mariette Liefferink to speak at its expert conference on the environmental and social impacts of uranium mining in South Africa.
The CEO of the FSE presented a paper on the environmental, health and social impacts of the reclamation of uraniferous tailings within the Witwatersrand goldfields during the 2014 conference in September, 2014. The FSE's participation in the conference is sponsored by the African Uranium Alliance.
The immediate case of the disaster at Fukushima may have been a natural once, but the official report to Japan's parliament says the ultimate culprit was a weak regulation - a lesson South Africa cannot afford to ignore.
FACIAL TREATMENT: Patience Mjadu, 44 inside her shack in Tudor Shaft informal settlement, with her face smeared with toxic soil from mining waste mixed with skin lotion and water. Mjadu believes the soil helps with her pimples and protects her face from the sun.
Despite intensive and extensive investigations undertaken and reports issued by several government departments several years ago into the health hazards associated with a toxic environment in the Johannesburg region, the situation persists with little to no remedial action taken to date.
Soweto, Johannesburg - Thousands of people face evacuation from greater Johannesburg in the Gauteng province - the economic heartland of South Africa - due to toxic sludge from abandoned gold mines laced with high radiation levels.
Patience Mjadu can't bear the pimples that dot her face. So, like other women in her impoverished informal settlement, she has resorted to a novel but potentially dangerous form of treatment involving toxic and radioactive mining waste.
In the wasteland that is Johan Kondos’s farm, a lush green field brings hope.
“This is what a farm is supposed to look like,” he says, gesturing proudly to his prized lucerne crop, seemingly untainted by the surrounding mining pollution.
This lone field, and a few beloved cattle, is all Kondos has left of his farm in Hartbeesfontein in the North West.
The government’s failure to address mining hazards is placing the lives of its poorest people at risk from large-scale toxic and radiological pollution, according to a new report.
One of the most abundant heavy metals in the earth's crust, uranium is a known radiological element and toxin. It is also a major by-product of gold mining, historically one of South Africa's greatest economic undertakings. The country additionally began mining specifically for uranium in 1949, primarily for export to the United States and other nuclear-intensive countries throughout the Cold War.
As the conflict between East and West subsided, uranium mining waned, with the gold output from the Witwatersrand reef also declining. Today, hundreds of thousands of tons of uranium by-product sit in mine dumps scattered across the country, with 100 000 tons of the heavy metal in Gauteng's Western Basin and Far Western Basin alone, according to Frank Winde of the North-West University at Potchefstroom.
The FSE has presented a proposal of recommended actions by the National Nuclear Regulator to deal with health risks and environmental hazards in the Witwatersrand Goldfields.