JOHANNESBURG, 4 December – The Amadiba Crisis Committee said on Thursday that mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe was not welcome at the Xolobeni 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.
Last month, the Xolobeni community scored a significant victory 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.
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, the Amadiba Crisis Committee said that by appealing this decision, Mantashe – who is also the chairperson of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) – does not respect its and other customary communities’ right to make decisions about their own land.
“You can appeal Minister Mantashe. We will fight you all the way to the Constitutional Court. But we also want to say Mr Mantashe’s attack on the judgment is absurd. Even if he is not embarrassed, ANC should be,” Amadiba Crisis Committee said in a statement.
“Every mining affected community know that this is ridiculous. Try ploughing your field and graze your cattle with a giant hole in your land. Try to use the contaminated water. After he is now also appealing against our right to say no, we hope that Minister Mantashe stops to push himself to come to our community. He is not welcome.”
Johan Lorenzen, one of the lawyers representing the community, confirmed that they had received Mantashe’s papers in the application for leave to appeal on Thursday morning, but said the court was yet to set the date to hear the matter.
The department’s spokesman, David Shabangu, referred questions to the department’s head of communications, Ayanda Shezi, whose phone was off.
– African News Agency (ANA)