YESTERYEAR musician Sheila Mabasa, popularly known as Cde Yondo, has vowed to resume her mining operations at Norton cemetery as soon as she submits requisite papers to the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).
EMA last week ordered Mabasa to halt operations at the site following an article by NewsDay exposing the controversial activity.
In an interview yesterday, Mabasa refuted allegations that she had encroached into the cemetery, but admitted she was filling up pits close to the graveyard as directed by EMA.
She said negotiations were underway with the environmental authority and expressed optimism that the green light would be granted since her operations were above board.
“I have all the papers from council which gave me the special grant to mine at the site. We are closing pits next to the graveyard in conformity with EMA’s instructions. We are submitting our Environmental Impact Assessment which EMA said would be dealt with within 14 days,” she said.
Contacted for comment EMA director Aaron Chigona, however, said their recommendation would be made after about two months.
“It takes us about two months to assess. We have to establish if the mining methods are compatible with other land uses around the site and also consider what other stakeholders think of this operation,” he said.
When NewsDay visited the site yesterday, operations had stopped and only three employees were guarding machinery.
They spoke of their fears to lose employment should the venture be closed.
“Our fear is where we would go if our mining activities here are stopped. There were 15 of us and we were sustaining our families courtesy of this venture,” said one of them speaking on condition of anonymity.
Mabasa has been operating at the site since 2010.