Tensions rise again as Mantashe attempts to visit Xolobeni community

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JOHANNESBURG, 4 December – Tensions between the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) and South Africa’s minister of mineral resources, Gwede Mantashe, escalated once again on Tuesday after Mantashe announced that he would be making a third attempt to visit the volatile Xolobeni community in the Eastern Cape next week.

This comes after Mantashe sent a letter to ACC lawyers on 20 December inviting “stakeholders” to discuss “economic development” in Xolobeni on 16 January.

The Xolobeni community has been at loggerheads with the department while waging a 15-year long battle against the issuing of a mining license to Transworld Energy and Minerals (TEM), a subsidiary of Australian mining company MRC, to mine titanium in the Xolobeni community in the Wild Coast area, Eastern Cape.

In a statement, ACC said its lawyers would probably meet Mantashe on Tuesday night, but stressed that he was not welcomed by the community.

In December, ACC banned Mantashe from eXolobeni saying that he was not welcome in the community anymore after it received his application for leave to appeal the court’s judgement for the community’s right to say no to mining in their area.

The community had scored a major victory in November after the High Court in Pretoria ruled that, in terms of the interim protection of informal land rights act, the minister of mineral resources may not grant mining rights without the consent of the community and the people directly affected by that mining right. But Mantashe appealed this court ruling on 13 December.

“Our lawyers have demanded the securities registers over shareholders in Xolobeni mining project since June last year. The law says this should be given within 14 days. The Australian daughter company Transworld Energy and Minerals, Keysha Investment 178, Xolco and their accountants have refused to cooperate,” ACC said.

“The official accountant of Xolco says he never heard of this company. Also, this will go to court. Those in ANC who need to worry can worry. We appeal to all concerned about land and human rights to tell Mining Minister Mr Gwede Mantashe to stop his ‘third coming'”.

– African News Agency (ANA)