Report on the assessment of previously unknown graves located on the farm Zaaiwater 11 IS, South East of Ogies (Phola), Mpumalanga Province


During August 2010 Archaetnos cc was requested by XStrata Coal (Tweefontein Complex) to assess and document a number of previously unknown graves found on the farm Zaaiwater 11 IS during mining operations for their Zaaiwater Open Pit. A Box Cut for these operations will directly impact on these graves very soon.

The aims of the assessment were to determine the age of the graves, the number of graves that will be impacted and also to recommend on the best way forward. The Zaaiwater Pit graves are only one of a large number of 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.

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. 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 Zaaiwater Pit graves were not located or identified during any of the previous surveys and assessments. Factors such as the huge area that had to be covered during earlier work, as well as dense vegetation (grass cover) made it difficult to identify all sites located in the mining area. The site will be directly impacted on by the expanding mining operations and will need to be exhumed and relocated fairly soon. A number of recommendations are put forward at the end of this report.

Report by

Anton J. Pelser