“How can citizens believe their government is taking global issues of climate change… seriously when they cannot even address the imminent water crisis waiting to explode on their doorstep?” asked Fedusa spokesperson André Venter.
Venter said no government representatives had turned up at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) on Monday for a scheduled meeting about acid mine drainage.
Nedlac is the main negotiating forum for business, labour and government.
Those in attendance instructed Nedlac to write an urgent letter to Deputy President Kgalema Motlantheabout the government’s non-attendance.
Present at the meeting were Fedusa, the Congress of SA Trade Unions, the SA Local Government Association, the SA Association of Water Utilities and the Chamber of Mines
“When one is faced with these examples of apathy and indifference, where does government expect to draw the political will to effect real change at the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP) 17 in Durban later this year?” asked Venter.
The government had set aside R225m to deal with acid mine drainage on the Witwatersrand, which was far short of what was needed to tackle the problem adequately, he said.
Venter said urgent action was needed in the western basin of the Witwatersrand gold fields area.
Acid mine water was already decanting to the surface and filtering into the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.
If no action was taken to deal with acid mine water in the central Witwatersrand basin, it would decant into the Boksburg area by as early as March 2013, he said.