Original Research - Special Collection: Institutional Structures and Processes

Regulatory and policy implications of sand mining along shallow waters of Njelele River in South Africa

Tendayi Gondo, Humphrey Mathada, Francis Amponsah-Dacosta
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 11, No 3 | a727 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v11i3.727 | © 2019 Tendayi Gondo, Humphrey Mathada & Francis Amponsah-Dacosta | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 July 2018 | Published: 04 July 2019

About the author(s)

Tendayi Gondo, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa
Humphrey Mathada, Department of Geography and Geo-Information Sciences, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa
Francis Amponsah-Dacosta, Department of Mining and Environmental Geology, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa


The ever-increasing interest in mining of sand in shallow waters of many rural rivers on the one hand and the growing concern for the environment on the other underscore the need to develop better management policies that govern sand extraction. Although literature pointing to increased environmental consciousness by some mining operations exists, the link between environmental concerns and sand mining has however remained a controversial matter and an under-researched area in South Africa. Consequently, decisions relating to what actions should or should not be taken to limit environmental concerns associated with sand mining operations in South Africa are not known. This analysis sought to explore regulatory and policy implications of sand mining operations along a sample of sites of Njelele River in South Africa. Data were gathered through observation, household questionnaire survey and a series of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) exercises conducted with selected community members and sand miners. We used a combination of K-means clustering and Discriminant Function Analysis (DFA) to determine the major environmental attributes explaining the state of affairs in sand mining. Regulatory and policy implications were developed using a combination of Gap analysis; Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis; and the development of a Threats, Opportunities, Weaknesses and Strengths (TOWS) matrix strategy. Our analysis identified a series of morphological, ecological, socio-ecological, governance and physical factors that were major areas of concern in three distinct clusters of sand mining sites. We concluded by discussing a number of regulatory and policy implications of sand mining at three scales, namely strategic, institutional and operational scales.


Sand Mining; Extraction; Environmental Concern; Guidelines; Morphological


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