A report on an assessment of various graves sites to be impacted on by the Tweefontein Optimization Project (TOP), located on various farms, Tweefontein Complex, near Ogies (Phola), Mpumalanga


Archaetnos cc was requested by XStrata Coal (Tweefontein Complex) to conduct an Assessment of graves and grave sites located on various farms on the Tweefontein Complex property that will be impacted on by the expansion of the mine’s operations (open cast coal mining). This expansion is known as the Tweefontein Optimization Project (TOP). The Tweefontein Complex is a few kilometers south east of Ogies (Phola). Archaetnos cc also conducted an assessment and documentation of graves and grave sites at Tweefontein during 2008, as well as 2010.

Most of the graves and grave sites were identified during a 2006 Baseline Study conducted by Dr. Julius Pistorius, while a few newly recorded sites were included in his 2010 HIA Report. A very large number of graves (in excess of 1700) were counted and identified during the fieldwork conducted by Archaetnos in 2008, with this number increasing to in excess of 2000 in 2010. Most of these graves are of unknown origin and age, although some are younger than 60 years of age and a few older than 60 years (SAHRA graves). All the known graves (younger and older) were identified through inscriptions on headstones.

The 2010 Analysis and final Assessment aimed at determining how many graves and grave sites will be impacted upon by the TOP, and then to prioritize the investigation, exhumation and relocation of the graves according to the Mine Plan and schedule. It was clear that a very large number of graves will have to be exhumed and relocated in the very near future before coal mining operations can continue. Subsequent to the 2010 assessment a number of possibly new grave sites were identified by mine officials, although some of these might be duplicates of ones already identified (with the correctness of certain GPS coordinates being problematic). In total 24 sites have therefore been (tentatively) identified. Only those ones that will be impacted in the very near future were to be assessed in 2011 and this report focus on these sites.

A number of recommendations in regard to the way forward are given at the end of this report.

Report by

Anton J. Pelser