One social impact of diamond mining in South Africa is poor safety. The mineral revolution has changed social impacts and interactions, as before the diamonds South Africa had no major source of mineral income or trade. People who work in the mines have poor health and safety systems and there are some deaths caused by this. The effect of the death is long-term impact and will affect the people for a very long time. It is a direct effect as the mining is killing the people directly. This social impact in very serious and is not sustainable at all for the future.
A negative impact of diamond mining in South Africa would be the change that happens in communities. The sudden influx of money into a South African community has shown to create social tensions and increased amounts of abuse and family violence. This is an indirect and long-term social effect and change that is definitely unsustainable. This change happens because the working hours that the workers get when they take a job at the mine are irregular and long, even up to 14 hours per day, disrupt the normal ‘social rhythms.’ This changes families as parents are taken away from children and elders while they are working. This has significant effects of families and the sustainability of village and family life. The changes of violence were also caused by the 4-6% of white people who worked in diamond mines over South Africa in the 1900s, they started being racially insensitive to the black people who worked in the mines and this lead to many blaming incidences and injuries. And by 1878 many of the higher people of influence in South Africa had gotten involved in the issue of racism, such as people like Sir Henry Barkley. Who made people who were of colour have less money for their work in the mines. The lack of a steadfast law and regulation on some South African mining companies has significant direct effects on people. This is as the lack of rules allows companies to reduce and change costs like security and labour. This is positive for the mining company as they will get more profit but it is very unsustainable for the people working at the mine as they work very hard for long hours only to get a very small amount of money that is not enough to sustain them in their daily lives. For example even today white people in the mines still earn 7.5 times as much as black people earn doing the same job, despite the fact that the black people's annual household income has increased by 169% in the past 10 years. This shows that the mining industry in South Africa is using the lack of rules to be racist to many thousands of people. Labour is not a problem though, as since the mine started up many people want to work there, and migrant workers, who are mostly from Central and East-Africa. are already traveling over to South Africa to mine and then send money home to their families. This is an indirect impact. The mining also has a direct effect on the people’s safety. For instance many people have injuries with dangerous chemicals and machinery. There is no current concrete governmental policy for safety in mines, this allows people to not wear the correct gear and have the correct equipment. There have been many injuries and fatalities caused by this such as between 2008 and 2009 there were 142 deaths of legally employed miners, and 135 deaths of illegal miners in South Africa. Although there has been a 24% reduction in fatality rates between 2009 and 2014. But these factors cause direct and long-term impacts as miners will die and not many people will know about it other than their family and friends. This impact on communities is very significant and it is not socially sustainable.
It is a criminal offence to employ a child under the age of 15, unless you have a permit from the Department of Labour. It is also illegal to employ a child from the age of 15 – 18 if the work is inappropriate or puts them at risk.
Child labour is a direct, negative and unsustainable impact of diamond mining in South-West Africa. According to statistics from the International Labour Organisation around 2,000 children work in mines in South-West Africa, and their numbers are increasing. Hundreds of the miners in Angola make a living out of illegal mines. They work very long hours and most of they time that they come out of the mine, they come out empty handed. Although there are many children working in South-West African mines, there has been a law passed in South-West Africa, which states, “It is a criminal offence to employ a child under the age of 15, unless you have a permit from the Department of Labour. It is also illegal to employ a child from the age of 15 – 18 if the work is inappropriate or puts them at risk.” This is a good sustainable law and although it wont fully stop child labour immediately it has helped and made an impact on a lot of children who were previously employed in the mining business. The impact of child labour is large and it is not currently socially sustainable for the future.