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NEWS: South African human rights commissioner links mining and right to water

Times Live (in Johannesburg) reports, “(South Africa) Human Rights Commission deputy chairman Pregs Govender (said) the killing of 34 Lonmin workers at Marikana had re-focused the spotlight on living and working conditions, and had brought urgency to the holding of provincial ‘Water is life; sanitation is dignity’ hearings. …Govender said many mining companies were yet to take responsibility for the consequences of their commercial activities. She said the Bench Marks Foundation had found that local communities ‘bear the brunt of harmful social, economic and environmental consequences’ of mining activity. The foundation has asked the commission to investigate the effect of mining on the supplies of clean water. …The Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation recently found that 16 million South Africans did not have access to sanitation and that R50-billion was needed to remedy the situation. …The provincial hearings will begin in Gauteng and run until November. A national hearing will be held in March.” The article is at http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2012/08/29/why-the-people-are-angry.