The South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) and the Mineworkers Development Agency (MDA) have signed a partnership agreement that will result in them collaborating to bring relief to the country’s former mineworkers and their communities in the wake of mine closures and the ever-growing prevalence of mining “ghost towns” and other poverty-stricken areas.
An important element of this partnership is offering immediate Covid-19 support to 200 identified needy families, who are worst affected by the pandemic in mining communities in the Free State and North West provinces.
SANEDI and MDA will be providing packages that include portable liquefied petroleum gas (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 pose a detrimental indoor air-quality challenge that can exacerbate the risks associated with the pandemic, according to an August 13 statement.
“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 SANEDI Working for Energy Programme GM David Mahuma.
As part of the MDA’s mandate, which complements the work of the Department of Social Development, it must provide healthcare support to those former mineworkers who are HIV positive, have tuberculosis or other illnesses.
MDA CEO Tshimane Monteodi says “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”.
He adds that the pandemic and winter season further exacerbated the already vulnerable grouping, owing to occupational health related diseases.