MACUA has been informed that on 10 March 2021, Tendele Coal Mining advised the Honourable Ms. Justice Kubushi that it concedes the merits of the review application instituted by the Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (“MCEJO”) in the Gauteng Division of the High Court in Pretoria.
The review application seeks the review and setting aside of the decision of the Acting Director-General: Mineral Resources, to grant Tendele a mining right in respect of 21 233 hectares mining right area under section 22 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 28 of 2002.
Thus, the mine has admitted that it is mining without proper authorisation.
And yet, The 15 June 2018 decision of the Minister of Minerals and Energy to dismiss MCEJO’s internal appeal in terms of section 96 of the MPRDA; and the 26 October 2016 decision of the Regional Manager to approve Tendele’s environmental management programme in terms of section 39 of the MPRDA stands as a reminder of the injustice that permeates the mining sector.
Furthermore, our MACUA Branch in Somkele also advised us that certain members of a local committee of MCEJO, who, it was alleged, signed contracts with Tendele without a mandate from the members of MCEJO, had formed a splinter group and were acting in the interests of the mine. The same splinter group had also endeavoured to withdraw the authorisation of Youens Attorneys in November 2020 and sort to institute an application to withdraw the review application on 8 February 2021 on behalf of MCEJO even though the mine had already admitted that it was not mining with a legitimate mining right.
Since the splinter group, working closely with Tendele had instigated efforts to undo the work of our members, who are also part of MCEJO, MACUA has approached the court to intervene as an applicant in the matter which is set down for hearing on 18 March 2021.
We have previously condemned the role of Tendele in the community and the purported secret deals with the splinter group which was linked to the assassination of Fikile Ntshangase and we stand determined to oppose the efforts of Tendele, via the splinter group, to withdraw the review application.
To add insult to injury, the mine has also released a press statement in which Tendele clearly seeks to identify Kirsten Youens, the attorney litigating on this matter on behalf of MCEJO, and Sheila Berry, of Global Environmental Trust (GET), who has been supporting MCEJO, as the next targets for violence, in this ensuing battle.
We condemn such deliberate efforts to inflame and instigate the violence which has already led to the assassination of a vocal opponent to the mine.
As MACUA we wish to reiterate that the current mining regime, as set out in the MPRDA, is unjustly skewed towards this type of barbaric greed, which will permit the extraction of mineral wealth and resources at any cost.
Tendele represents the worst extremes of the mining sector in so many ways. Not only are they mining on the land of the community and subjecting the community to ground, water and air pollution, but they are also mining in an environmentally sensitive area which will most likely take hundreds of years to recover from the damage they have already inflicted.
Despite the aggressive attempts to rip the earth apart and to destroy the environment, Tendele mine has also fermented a sense of division and ultimately violence in the community.
We will not stand by while greed is allowed to be the final arbiter of our collective future. It is time to put the people and the environment at the centre of our efforts to sustain an economy. For too long has the economy been placed before the people, while producing the most unequal society in the world.
We trust that the courts will ensure justice for the people and the environment.
For further information please contact:
Meshack Mbangula – National Coordinator of MACUA: 0749775588
Nester Ndebele –National Convenor of WAMUA: 083269570