By Gilbert Moela 
In the wake of the recent KwaZulu Natal Division of the High Court ruling, which interdicted Tendele Coal Mine from proceeding with its illegal operations on the communal land of Mpukonyoni Community our National Coordinator Meshack Mbangula, a prominent mining and environmental rights activist has been ‘threatened with death’ after he attended a court proceedings with members of Mpukunyoni Community Environmental Justice Organisation that seeks to interdict Tendele Coal Mine from unlawfully expanding their operations in the community that will distract the day to day living which will include negative environmental impacts, disruption of traditional livelihoods and air pollution in the community.
Meshack put his own liberty and body on the line for those suffering from the mining and environmental crisis. But he is more than just an activist – anyone that knows Meshack knows he is a gentle, thoughtful, and compassionate human being who would only act proportionately to the crisis we all face.
But the threat on Meshack’s life comes at a time when defiance at a grassroots level appears to have become particularly dangerous, especially in the rural province of KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape.
And this is by no means an isolated case: Many mining and environmental rights activists are increasingly worried that they could be targeted for their work, as there’s a sharp increase in threats and violence towards environmental defenders.