This brief presents the challenges, outcomes, and suggested solutions resulting from two conferences that the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Mining Dialogue 360 held in Johannesburg and Cape Town in December 2019 and January 2020, respectively. The discussions focused on two central themes: ways to strengthen existing policies and legislation regulating mine closures in South Africa and the role of land rehabilitation in supporting a just transition.
An orderly process of mine closures and land rehabilitation in South Africa is still far from reality despite existing legislation. This brief denounces the incoherence in existing policies and the government’s inability to enforce them. The authors call for regulatory reform, greater transparency, and a strict enforcement of laws penalizing non-compliance.
The paper argues in favor of greater community inclusion to ensure transformative mine closure and rehabilitation processes that are in the best interest of the fossil fuel–dependent communities. The authors see early planning as the best approach to successfully shifting to a post-mining, sustainable economy. However, they remain skeptical that South Africa can oversee such a transformation due to the lack of basic mechanisms such as multi-stakeholder cooperation.