American novelist and social critic James Baldwin once said: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” But what happens when that which must be faced is hidden beneath layers of bureaucratic agendas, politically motivated decisions and personal interests? Looting and corruption of the grandest scale, that’s what. Since the dawn of democracy in SA, the mining sector has been driven by a transformative agenda with the objective of ensuring equitable access to and sustainable development of the nation’s mineral and petroleum resources. The current legal framework recognises that extractives are finite and that the industry must contribute to sustainable investment in the socioeconomic development of communities to ensure SA residents benefit from the extraction and use of these resources. The dispensation of mining royalties — in the form of monies paid by mining companies directly to mine-affected communities — is one such area of the...

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